Entries Tagged as 'Environment'
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 upper limit on total greenhouse gas emissions – a global “carbon budget” to keep temperature increase below 2°C. This is considered to be the threshold for “dangerous” climate change, and also the target for international climate negotiations.
I have a post as part of a new series from the Progressive Economics Forum celebrating 50 years of Mel Watkins’ publication of “A Staple Theory of Economic Growth.” Watkins’ piece follows the insight of Harold Innis to develop an understanding of economic growth uniquely rooted in the Canadian experience. The series begins with an intro by Jim Stanford here. The CCPA will be publishing a volume with all of the commentaries at some point.
This is the text of remarks I made today to Vancouver city council on divestment. Earlier this year, Council requested that staff report back on how the city’s financial investments align with the city’s mission and values, and various ethical programs like the city’s purchasing policy and the greenest city initiative. So the meeting was essentially about the contents of the staff report.
The outcome of the meeting was a small victory for divestment. Council recommended:
Political commitments on climate action, to the extent they exist, are usually pitched in terms of targets and timelines. BC, for example, has a legislated target of 33% below 2007 levels by 2020; Canada’s official target is a 17% reduction by 2020 relative to 2005 levels. Neither target will be met under status quo policy, which is, de facto, to extract as much carbon and put it in the atmosphere as possible.
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, but also first nations, farmers and ranchers) in delaying a decision on KeystoneXL is significant: this project was viewed as a slam dunk a few years ago; now there is a very good likelihood of it being denied. To sway the decision, the PM has stated to President Obama that Canada is willing to commit to ”joint action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector.” No official White House response has been made, although the two had a talk about this on Friday at the G-20 meetings.
It started with a car accident in February, and the total loss of our 2004 Prius, which had only been ours for less than a year. We were quickly compensated for its market value and were in a position to buy another car, but we held off due to a looming sabbatical that would take us out of the country for a couple months. So, we did not buy a car then, and upon our return we are still car free.
I’m back from a short sabbatical, grateful for some time outside of my daily work and home life, feeling all big picture. But as I settle back into work, I feel like I’m seated in a Theatre of the Absurd play. My news feeds are pulling up astonishing things.
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.