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Archive for 'energy'

The IMF and Progressive Economics in Canada

It is interesting to note that the most recent IMF staff report on Canadian economic issues echoes some key concerns of progressive economists. I have reported these for the Broadbent Institute. As noted in this summary, the IMF report that corporate Canada’s cash hoard is the biggest in the G7 and has been mainly amassed […]

BC proposes LNG tax

I posted this on CCPA’s BC Policy Note blog but others across Canada should pay attention to BC’s quest for LNG gold. I’d also recommend this comparison of the Quebec and BC budgets by Michal Rozworski, which highlights the stubborn emphasis on natural resource development in both budgets. It’s like the tax cut culture has […]

BC’s Big Favour? LNG Exports and GHG Emissions

The hype on LNG has grown to staggering proportions. I have not had much time to debunk all of the government’s grotesque exaggerations and outright falsehoods. But Christy Clark’s claim that BC is “doing the world a favour” by exporting LNG to Asia made me write this oped, which got picked up in today’s Vancouver Sun: Is […]

Global carbon budget is a harsh reality check for Canadian investors

The recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) should be a wake-up call for Canada. With a development model based on ever more fossil fuel extraction, Canada’s economy and financial markets are on a collision course with the urgent need for global climate action. The IPCC, for the first time, stated an […]

The Staple Theory @ 50: Marc Lee

As part of our continuing series of commentaries celebrating the 50th anniversary of Mel Watkins’ classic article, “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth,” we present the following commentary by Marc Lee, economist with the B.C. office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.  Marc considers the implications — both economic and environmental — of the current […]

Metro Vancouver needs to walk its “zero waste” talk

An oped published in the Vancouver Sun: When delegates attend Metro Vancouver’s Zero Waste conference on Wednesday, they will hear from innovators and big thinkers about how to radically redesign waste out of our economy. Ideas will be presented to aggressively reuse, repair and maintain what we consume, and for composting and recycling to keep all materials […]

Memo to Obama: Canada’s carbon problem IS the tar sands

Canada’s Harper-ment is getting increasingly desperate. The quest to double production out of the Alberta tar sands needs new pipelines (or rail). In recent months, we have seen new proposals for pipelines to the west and to the east, amid further delays of the KeystoneXL pipeline to the south. The success of US activists (environmentalists, […]

Is new coal export infrastrucutre in the best interest of BC and Canada

Today’s CBC Edition Business Panel focused on the proposal by Fraser Surrey Docks to build a new coal terminal on the Fraser river to export US thermal coal (if you missed it, here’s the recording starting at 1:50). This may seem like a local issue for the West Coast, but the arguments stand for most […]

Climate justice and the political moment in BC

The following is based on a talk at the Bring Your Boomers election forum on April 3 at the Rio Theatre in Vancouver, the fourth in a series of intergenerational dialogues from Gen Why Media, and was co-sponsored by the CCPA, Get Your Vote On, LeadNow and Vancity credit union. I was asked to set the stage for a conversation on climate justice between […]

Absolving our Carbon Sins: the Case of the Pacific Carbon Trust

Last week’s report from BC’s Auditor General dealt a huge blow to the credibility of carbon offsets and claims that BC had achieved a state of “carbon neutral government.” Coverage of the AG’s report was coloured by accusations from the Pacific Carbon Trust, the Crown corporation created to buy and sell BC offsets, and “experts” from the offset […]

Closing the Loop: Zero Waste, GHG Emissions and Green Jobs in BC

Below is the summary for our latest Climate Justice Project report, Closing the Loop: Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Creating Green Jobs through Zero Waste in BC (I recommend checking the much prettier full paper, stand-alone summary, and awesome infographic by Sam Bradd on the website). Closing the Loop was a complex and challenging project that made my head spin, […]

Dutch Disease is Dead … Long Live Dutch Disease!!!

In the hyper-polarized context of Canadian energy policy debates, even suggesting that there might be a downside to the untrammeled energy boom centred in northern Alberta is enough to get you labelled a traitor or an economic illiterate — or both.  Conservative political leaders in both Ottawa and Edmonton, backed by energy-friendly think-tanks and the […]

Marc’s Enbridge Testimony

Testimony to the Joint Review Panel on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project By Marc Lee, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives January 16, 2013 My name is Marc Lee, and I have served as an economist for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives for more than 14 years. Most recently I have been Senior Economist and […]

Marc’s Letter from 2040

The following comes from a short talk on a vision for a zero-carbon BC that I gave at a couple events this Fall. Many have asked for the text so I’ve posted it here, and we may try and turn it into a video. That said, I have been reluctant to do so up to […]

Nexen & Progress Takeovers Approved: What Next?

The federal government’s announcement on Friday that it is approving two more big oilsands takeovers (by China’s CNOOC and Malaysia’s Petronas, both state-owned suitors) was political tap-dancing at its best.  Prime Minister Harper’s speech listed several reasons why takeovers by foreign state-owned firms are a problem … but then proceeded to approve $21 billion worth […]

BC’s Natural Gas Strategy nothing more than a fairy tale

I have an oped in Saturday’s Vancouver Sun. The editor wanted me to focus on the claims of economic gains for BC, so the piece ended up being a complementary piece to the Behind the Numbers report on GHG emissions and the Natural Gas Strategy. The title was his choice not my own, but I like […]

Oil Prices and the Loonie Again

There’s a refreshingly pragmatic and detailed piece in today’s National Post by Peter Spiro questioning the assumed correlation between oil prices and the loonie.  It builds nicely on previous discussion of the “oil price-loonie transmission mechanism” that has occurred here and here. Among other salient points, Mr. Spiro points out that: Canadian petroleum exports have […]

Investing in the Green & White – Why Not in Green Power?

At yesterday’s Saskatchewan Roughrider game, Premier Wall announced provincial funding for a new stadium: an $80-million grant and a $100-million loan to be repaid over time through a surcharge on tickets. While it’s unclear why a stadium should be anywhere near the top of the priority list, a readiness to invest in public infrastructure is […]

Clean electricity, conservation and a zero-carbon future

Today we released a new Climate Justice Project report, Clean Electricity, Conservation and Climate Justice in BC: Meeting our energy needs in a zero-carbon future, co-authored by John Calvert and myself. The report is central to the vision we have been developing of a zero-carbon BC, with a focus on the need to transition off […]

A Green Industrial Revolution

Today the CCPA released a new big picture report by myself and student researcher Amanda Card calling for a Green Industrial Revolution. The report builds on work done for the BC-focused Climate Justice Project, bringing to bear a national analysis of green and not-so-green jobs. We take a close look at GHG emissions and employment […]

Energy McCarthyism

The high-and-mighty virtiol which greeted Tom Mulcair’s comments last week about the downside of oil-powered currency appreciation is lamentable (repeating the over-the-top reaction to Dalton McGuinty’s similar comments a few weeks ago).  Mulcair made two modest and empirically substantiated statements: the loonie is sky-high as a result of the oil boom in Alberta’s bitumen sands […]

Canada’s Oil: For Sale to the Highest Bidder

Want to know why Canada’s currency is sky-high despite our sluggish recovery, our large and persistent current account deficit, and our lousy export performance? Check out this fascinating story in Friday’s National Post, by Yadullah Hussain, on why Canada’s oil reserves are such a uniquely hot commodity in the eyes of global oil corporations. The […]

The Oil Price-Loonie Transmission Mechanism

The most interesting comments from Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney last week, in releasing the Bank’s semi-annual Monetary Policy Report, dealt with the relationship between the price of oil and the Canadian currency.  The Globe and Mail reported Carney as publicly questioning why currency traders automatically presume such a direct link between the loonie […]

Enbridge Pipe Dreams and Nightmares

CCPA released today a report by yours truly on the economic costs and benefits of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline. In particular, I take aim at the outrageous claims about jobs made by the feds and Enbridge as part of their sales pitch. The report takes a closer look at the input-output modelling of job impacts, and considers […]

Canada – The Petrotyranny

The revelations over how the federal Tories used a robo-calling firm (or firms) to contact voters in possibly 30 or more ridings during last year’s election – misleading them about where polling stations were located – is just another example of the Harper government’s undemocratic tactics. This is on top of their new on-line surveillance […]

Canada’s Petro-Recovery

Statsitics Canada released the third quarter GDP numbers today, and on the surface they seem pretty upbeat, considering all the doom and gloom lately.  Headline real GDP grew at an annualized 3.5% rate.  I predicted a few weeks back that there was no chance that the 3Q number would be negative (thus sparing us a […]

On climate, Canada is a rogue state

On Sunday, CTV leaked Canada’s intentions to pull out of the Kyoto treaty process on climate change. What is significant about Kyoto is that it is a legally binding international treaty, and one that puts the onus of emission reductions on the countries that have done the most to cause the problem (and who have most […]

Home energy retrofit (part 2)

This summer I put our household through an energy efficiency retrofit. I was working on a research paper on energy efficiency, and then both the BC and federal governments announced new funding for their retrofit programs, so I engaged in some direct action research, staring with an energy audit of our home (more in part […]

Are smart meters worth the cost?

A notice in my mailbox last week told me that smart meters are going to be installed in my neighbourhood. I’ll admit that the geek in me would like to see real-time information about my energy usage, but as an economist I’m interested in costs and benefits of the program. So far we have seen […]

Fighting energy poverty and the transition to zero-emission housing

Today CCPA released a new Climate Justice Project report, Fighting Energy Poverty in the Transition to Zero-Emission Housing: A Framework for BC, by yours truly, Eugene Kung (a lawyer with the BC Public Interest Advocacy Centre and a steering committee member of the CJP) and Jason Owen (who worked on this project as a student at UBC, now with the […]