BC’s GHG emissions shell game

The BC government recently announced a new climate action of some consequence: the phasing out of the Burrard Thermal plant in Metro Vancouver. The unit was used largely for back-up purposes, producing electricity for BC Hydro to supplement hydropower during times of high demand. But at a large GHG cost per unit of energy — about 351 kilotonnes of CO2 […]

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Vancouver bids to be world’s greenest city

Last week, the City of Vancouver’s task force, the Greenest City Action Team, issued a plan for the city with short and longer-term goals and policy advice on achieving them. The report covers more than climate change, a good thing as it is important to identify win-wins that lead to improvement on other environmental, health and social objectives as we […]

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“Bigger Isn’t Better”

A thoughtful op ed from today’s Ottawa Citizen by Peter Victor, the author of “Managing Without Growth” (Edward Elgar)  on the case for a no growth future. http://www.ottawacitizen.com/business/fp/Bigger+better/1590471/story.html Here’s an extract: “Although no 21st-century Keynes has emerged to prepare the intellectual ground for such a change in thinking, we do have a body of knowledge built up over many decades […]

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Planet Before Politics

I signed the following open letter published in the Globe on the weekend. I cannot take any credit for organizing or writing the letter (hat tip to Ian Bruce of the David Suzuki Foundation). On the other hand, I can say that I have co-published with David Suzuki! It’s time to put the planet before politics May 9, 2009 In […]

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The Sustainable Development Paradox

Here is a note to Relentlessly Progressive Economics readers from Dr. Luis T. Gutierrez: The January 2009 issue of the E-Journal of “Solidarity, Sustainability, and Nonviolence” has been posted: The Sustainable Development Paradox As part of a series of articles on “dimensions of sustainable development,” the January 2009 issue shows the impossibility of integrating the social, economic, and political dimensions of sustainable development unless […]

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CUPE Economic Climate for Bargaining June 2008

CUPE has published the June 2008 issue of the Economic Climate for Bargaining publication that I put together on a quarterly basis.  Previous issues are also available through this link at our website.   In addition to regular items on national and provincial economic forecasts and analysis of recent employment, inflation and wage developments, this latest issue includes: A very brief primer on […]

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The OECD and the Tar Sands

The 2008 OECD Survey of Canada incorporates a long and surprisingly critical overview of developments in the energy sector, with a major focus on the tar sands. (Chapter 4). It is, in many respects, far closer to the views of the Pembina Institute and the Parkland Institute in Alberta than to those of the Alberta and federal governments, and even […]

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Dion’s Green Plan or Mintz’s Tax Plan?

There is a lot of the colour green all over Dion’s Green Shift plan.  But after reading it, the greenery appears almost as superficial as the green shift caps that Liberal MPs wore awkwardly with their business suits at the launch yesterday. Dion’s plan is really a proposal for a tax shifting budget and doesn’t contain any new proposals to […]

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Exports and Greenhouse-Gas Emissions

Today, Statistics Canada released a very interesting study on the economic demand that is driving greenhouse-gas emissions. Between 1990 and 2002, exports outstripped Canadians’ personal expenditure as the leading source of Canada’s industrial emissions. Indeed, exports accounted for essentially all of the increase in these emissions. Canadian Industrial Emissions (in megatons) Final-Demand Category 1990 2002 Exports 176.4 264.4 Personal Expenditure […]

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Vive la velorution

Agnès Poirier Thursday August 2, 2007 The Guardian Le Tour is dead, long live le vélo! The French vélorution began the day after Bastille day, or day one of the vélib – short for vélo-liberté. With it, millions of Parisians have been able to forget the shame of the Tour de France and make the road theirs, 24 hours a […]

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Regulatory “cooperation” in action

In our paper, Putting Canadians at Risk, Bruce Campbell and I feared that lowering our regulatory standards would inevitably happen under the banner of “regulatory cooperation” with the US, something senior government officials think is just great. While this might look like typical Harper policy, it is really just a continuation of an initiative that gained steam under the Martin […]

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Simpson on Climate Change

Jeffrey Simpson has a good column in today’s Globe on the new Conservative climate-change plan. He makes the same point that I did about the impossibility of meeting Kyoto’s first-round targets and the importance taking our second-round targets seriously. He also points out how thin all of these climate-change “plans” have been. To me, a “plan” is a set of […]

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Another Inconvenient Truth

Al Gore has famously and correctly characterized the scientific consensus about global warming as “An Inconvenient Truth”. In today’s Financial Post, Buzz Hargrove identifies another “inconvenient truth” for Canadian progressives: “it is impossible to achieve Kyoto targets in the time frames spelled out in Kyoto.” Canada’s Kyoto commitment was relatively modest and achievable. However, after signing it, the Liberal government […]

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Toxics and our failed regulatory system

The Globe and Mail deserves full credit for continuing to publish stories on environmental toxins. After being in circulation for decades, many chemicals are now (slowly) being put to the test, and some may even be taken out of circulation some time in the next decade. A first step being taken by the feds is labelling of what is in […]

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Green Strategy and the SPP

At the conference a couple of weeks ago where Elizabeth May mused about income trusts, she also committed to make opposition to the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) the centrepiece of the Green Party’s forthcoming election platform. The SPP is an arrangement between Canada, the US, and Mexico that seeks to accelerate tar-sands development, among other objectives. It is very […]

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Central Nova by the Numbers

Stéphane Dion, who is not progressive, has allied with Elizabeth May, who is not progressive, ostensibly to prevent progressive vote-splitting. As Andrew Coyne notes in tomorrow’s National Post column, this maneuver is clearly directed against the federal NDP, which is progressive. It is worth recalling the 2006 election results in Central Nova, the riding where Dion has pledged to prevent […]

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Internal Trade Conference

On March 30, I attended the federal government’s conference on “Internal Trade: Opportunities and Challenges,” which was hosted by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and by Industry Canada. Other attendees included academics, federal and provincial civil servants, and representatives of business and professional organizations. The academic and policy people all agreed that the material costs of alleged inter-provincial barriers […]

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TILMA and the environment

Last week, the Sierra Legal Defence Fund published a legal analysis on the environment and TILMA. Below is an excerpt from the press release, and the full document is here. This is an important analysis as BC’s point man on the file, Colin Hansen, has been claiming that the environment has been set aside as a “legitimate objective”. April Fools’ […]

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Elizabeth May, Income Trusts and Foreign Ownership

A rather strange – not to say bizzarre – hypothesis on the Conservative decision to restrict income trusts was put forward today (March 31) by Green Party Leader and ostensible progressive, Elizabeth May. Speaking to the Council of Canadians Integrate this! conference on the “deep integration” Security and Prosperity Partnership with the US, May said she found allegations of revenue […]

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George Monbiot on Bio Fuels

Of more than passing interest given Harper’s ramped up subsidies to ethanol – more of a farm support program than a genuine climate change solution it would seem (though perhaps we should be more supportive of the newer biotechnologies which can convert wood and agricultural wastes to ethanol.) http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2043724,00.html If we want to save the planet, we need a five-year […]

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The Vehicle Efficiency Incentive

I’ve posted below an interesting commentary from Dennis DesRosier in favour of gas tax increases as an alternative to the proposed incentive increases. His chart shows a near perfect correlation between monthly gas prices and % monthly auto sales going to entry level ( fuel efficient) vehicles. It strikes me that – to reduce the emissions intensity of motor vehicles […]

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More progressive economics

Announcing the Center for the Applied Study of Economics & the Environment, a new US grouping of progressive economists. Here is their manifesto: Real People, Real Environments, and Realistic Economics The wealth and power of humanity in the 21st century could be used to create a far better world. We write as economists who are troubled by environmental degradation and […]

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Labour and Climate Change

http://www.canadianlabour.ca/index.php/briefs_to_parliament/1096 The Canadian Labour Congress today submitted to the Parliamentary Committee looking at Bill C-30, the Clean Air Act which deals with greenhouse gas emissions. Our brief sets out a broad labour perspective on climate change issues – focusing on the need for a planned transition to a more environmentally sustainable economy. Labour supports sticking with Kyoto, deeper emissions reduction […]

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Congestion charging in London

… is working nicely, says the Mayor: Charging ahead Ken Livingstone February 16, 2007 2:45 PM http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/ken_livingstone/2007/02/of_course_the_catastrophe_didn.html In 2003, congestion charging was introduced in the most clogged-up central area of London against a backdrop of almost universal media scepticism and many gleeful predictions of catastrophe. Of course the catastrophe didn’t happen. London is now in the position of being the […]

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The windstorms of political change

The status of the environment as the new top issue of 2007, and the coming federal election, is now uniformly accepted in the popular media. PM Stephen Harper is belatedly and desperately rolling out some “new” environmental initiatives (or reintroducing initiatives they previously had canceled) to try to out-green former Environment Minister, Stephan Dion. I doubt this will work, as Harper is going to have […]

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