On Monday, the Parti québécois government announced a new mining royalty regime. Its hybrid proposal combines aspects from two types of royalty systems: profit based and ad valorem royalties. In this blog post, we will demystify these ways of calculating royalties in order to best analyze the government’s choice as well as what its implications are.
Let’s start with a small yet important clarification: all mining royalty regimes must deal with the cyclical nature of metal markets, which periodically increase and then decrease. When metal prices are high, mining companies naturally tend to generate more profits than when prices are low. These fluctuations obviously affect royalties. ...Read more
Tags: extractivism·mining royalty regime·natural resources·quebec
Federal Natural Resource minister Joe Oliver stopped by Montréal on 11 April to promote tar sands and closed the door to any strict greenhouse-gas ceiling. He claimed that, according to scientists, our fears regarding climate change are “exaggerated.” He refused to retract his statement the following week before the federal natural resources committee.
His declaration could not be any further away from the truth. Even though the most recent data reveals that global warming has slowed down slightly since 2005, greenhouse gas emission trends point towards a catastrophic runaway climate change. Still, Canada continues to skate away from history and blindly attempts to expand tar sands, despite the fact that a grave planetary crisis is imminent. ...Read more
Tags: Climate Change·greenhouse gas·Joe Oliver
An oped based on my and Brock Ellis’ recent report, Canada’s Carbon Liabilities, was published in iPolitics (alas, behind a pay wall):
Canada’s economic development model is on a collision course with the urgent need for global climate action. Worldwide, extreme weather events from drought to floods to powerful storms and record-breaking temperatures are making a powerful statement that climate change can no longer be denied.
Hurricane Sandy, which rudely interrupted a US election in which candidates ignored climate change, pushed climate action back onto the US policy agenda. Costs are piling up, with one recent estimate of $1.2 trillion per year in global damages already from climate change and related environmental costs from a carbon-intensive economy. ...Read more
Tags: Economy & Economic Indicators·Environment·Pensions
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 three youth and five politicians seeking office in the coming election.
BC’s 2013 election comes at an important moment in history. Worldwide, extreme weather events from drought to floods to powerful storms and record-breaking temperatures are making a powerful statement that climate change can no longer be denied. ...Read more
Tags: British Columbia·climate justice
Divestment from fossil fuels is an idea whose time has come. Sparked by Bill McKibben’s Rolling Stone article last summer, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math”, divestment campaigns are now up and running on over 300 university campuses in the US, with 4 early victories already notched. Students in Canada have declared tomorrow (March 27) Fossil Fools Day, a national day of action, with many campuses launching divestment campaigns. ...Read more
Tags: Economy & Economic Indicators·Environment·Fossil fuel divestment
It seems the City of Regina just can’t get enough of bad deals. Hot on the heels of the City Plaza debacle and the stadium funding mess, the City has now announced its intention to enter into a 30-year contract with a private corporation to upgrade its waste water treatment facilities. Just as the City seems immune to the evidence that sports stadiums are a poor use of taxpayer money it seems equally oblivious to the mountain of evidence that essential public infrastructure should remain in public hands. In the case of contracting out wastewater treatment, the record is anything but reassuring. In the United States, which has had almost thirty years of experience with private-public partnerships at the municipal level, the results of water privatization have been uneven at best and downright terrifying at their worst. The City of Atlanta is perhaps the most recent and high-profile case of privatized waste water treatment gone horribly wrong. In 1999, the City of Atlanta entered into a 20 year “operate and maintain” (O&M) contract with a multi-national consortium, United Water Systems Atlanta (UWSA), in what was then the largest municipal water privatization agreement in the U.S. As the CBC’s Fifth Estate reported, complaints about the quality of the water began almost immediately after the contract. Atlanta city councillor Clair Muller: ...Read more
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 the Co-Director of the Climate Justice Project, a multi-year SSHRC-funded research project with the University of British Columbia, in collaboration with a large team of academics and community groups. ...Read more
Tags: British Columbia·climate justice·Employment and Labour·pipeline
An op-ed of mine was published by the Vancouver Sun today:
What’s next for BC’s carbon tax?
Climate change forced its way onto the political agenda in 2012, as Hurricane Sandy ripped through the northeast United Stages just days before the election. And while action remains frustratingly slow, extreme weather disasters in the billions of dollars are making a statement that politicians can no longer ignore. The costs of our addiction to fossil fuels are starting to pile up, and we cannot afford to keep dithering. ...Read more
Tags: British Columbia·carbon tax·Climate Change
In the beginning of December, the Harper government gave its approval to two takeover deals in the energy sector. Nexen is involved in offshore production operations around the world and in oil sands in western Canada. It will now be the property of CNOOC, a Chinese corporation. The second deal sealed Progress Energy’s takeover by the Malaysian giant Petronas. ...Read more
Tags: gas·natural resources·oil
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 now because it was intended as a 5-6 min talk and thus had certain major omissions. In parentheses below I have added back a couple paragraphs that got cut due to time constraints.
Welcome to BC, 2040 ...Read more
Tags: British Columbia·Climate Change