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
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
Doha, Qatar — The 18th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is now underway in Doha, Qatar. This year’s president is His Excellency Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiya, chair of Qatar’s Administrative Control and Transparency Authority.
Al-Attiya said the conference is “a turning point” and participants have “a golden opportunity … over the coming days, and we should not miss it.” COP presidents usually utter such statements at the outset of negotiations. ...Read more
Tags: Climate Change·Environment·Human Rights
In recent years the world has experienced a sequence of climate-change-related disasters. Hurricane Sandy comes on top of massive drought through the summer that has led to 40% loss of American corn and other grain crops, raging wildfires in the southeast US, tornados and derechos, etc – and that is just the US. Check out this extreme weather timeline for other global events of note in 2012 (and it is also worth noting that Sandy had a death toll in the Caribbean before landing in the US). ...Read more
Tags: Climate Change·Economy & Economic Indicators·Environment
Today we released a new report by yours truly, BC’s Legislated Greenhouse Gas Targets vs Natural Gas Development: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly. It was just five years ago that BC brought in the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act, a signal that BC was serious about climate action. The Act calls for a 33% cut in emissions by 2020 (relative to 2007 levels) and 80% by 2050, with interim targets for 2012 and 2016. My report provides a reality check on progress toward and prospects for the 2020 target. ...Read more
Tags: British Columbia·Environment
On September 4, the people of Québec elected a new National Assembly. They demonstrated a surprising level of interest in the 35-day campaign, full of twists and turns, despite it being held in the summertime. This blog post will draw a quick picture of the current state of Québec politics and point towards what’s in store in terms of legislative agenda with Pauline Marois’s new PQ government.
The New National Assembly ...Read more
Tags: bill 101·corruption·election·Environment·fiscal justice·quebec
The Halifax Regional Municipality’s Solar City project has been widely heralded as visionary and pioneering, an inspiration not only to other municipalities in Nova Scotia, but across the country. The plan is to bring solar hot water to a 1,000 homes in the city, allowing homeowners to repay the cost on their property tax bills. It is structured to be revenue neutral for the city, and homeowners will share in cost savings through quantity purchases and efficiently organized installation. Initiated in the fall of 2010, it makes superb economic and environmental sense, and the response to the project was so enthusiastic that HRM received in excess of 1,600 applications! The plan, after the initial pilot stage, is to rollover financing to keep the project going indefinitely after the initial round of installations. ...Read more
Tags: Climate Change·Environment·municipal·Nova Scotia
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) held its 35th session recently in Geneva, on the northern shore of Lac Leman. Across the water from the UN quadrant where the IPCC’s decision-making body met lies Mont Blanc.
At 4800 metres Mont Blanc is the highest peak in the Alps. Like nearly all alpine glaciers, it is losing mass at a rapid rate. Light brown patches on its slopes point to where the ice recently lay and the extent of the mountain’s glacial retreat is obvious and worrisome. It is disappearing as fast as the multiyear sea ice in the Arctic. ...Read more
Tags: Climate Change·Economy & Economic Indicators·Environment
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 of fossil fuels and the key role that BC Hydro can and should play in the transition. Our conclusion is upbeat and hopeful: we can do this — but we need a major shift away from current policies. ...Read more
Tags: British Columbia·Climate Change·Environment
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 by industry category, and show how few jobs – but how massive the emissions – are from our obsession with fossil fuel extraction and export. But we also outline how to overcome our carbon-intensive industrial policies and the prospects for new green investments that would create more jobs. Below is the summary. ...Read more
Tags: Employment and Labour·Environment