A Tale of Two CA’s

Canada would benefit by paying more attention to the way that one of the world's largest economies--California-- is reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases. Its cap-and-trade emission reduction program is only a part of a comprehensive portfolio of regulatory policies that have been hugely successful. Canada's federal government should drop its carbon tax and take a leaf out of California's playbook. Read More

Carbon price wars–BC, Ontario or Quebec?

Recently published government data show that British Columbia's revenue-neutral carbon tax scheme--once celebrated as world class--has performed dismally. Ontario and Quebec are the star performers, and it's not hard to see why. Investing carbon revenues in complementary policies that promote energy efficiency and renewable energy are the keys to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Read More

Greenhouse Hothouse Firehouse

A recent scientific paper uses systems analysis to project future pathways of the Earth System in the context of continuing emissions of greenhouse gases. As global temperatures rise, feedback mechanisms intensify and tipping point thresholds are crossed--leading to a cascade of effects that lead to a state characterized as Hothouse Earth. A different path is possible. But not without urgent action on a global scale. Read More

No let up–it just gets worse

The State of the Climate in 2017 report from the American Meteorological Society is packed with the latest data on the planet's deteriorating climate. There are no signs that the situation is improving. On the contrary, most of the climate variables point to a worsening situation. The US, Canada, and Europe should be taking the lead. We got one out three. Read More

Pricing carbon: regressive or not?

Economists don't always agree: but they all seem to like the idea of setting a price on carbon. Either through a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme, a levy on carbon appears certain to eventually reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. But at a price. The poorest sector of the population carries a disproportionately greater burden. It's a regressive tax. Is there a way to reduce emissions without penalizing low-income families? Read More

Antarctic melt accelerates sea level rise

Recent satellite data from NASA and the ESA show that the Antarctic ice sheet is melting much faster than previously thought--leading to more rapid global sea level rise. The rate of increase of atmosheric carbon dioxide is also increasing. These data show evidence of geophysical positive feedbacks that will be difficult if not impossible to control without forceful measures to reduce emissions of carbon. Read More

Two steps forward? Not for Canada.

2017 was an exceptional year for renewable energy. That was the good news. But the bad news is that energy intensity declined worldwide, CO2 emissions are once again on the rise, and king coal refuses to cede its place to cleaner fuels. Surprisingly, the US gets good grades--and Canada gets the raspberry. Read More

Three suicides and climate change

It was a depressing week. Three suicides, one of which was by a man who made the ultimate sacrifice in protest against the environmental policies of Scott Pruit's EPA. But no-one should be driven to the point where they are willing to sacrifice their life in the hope that government climate policies will change for the better. Read More

Is the TMEX pipeline a future stranded asset?

The US and Canada, rely heavily on fossil fuel production and exports. But the surging market penetration of renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency improvements, and climate emission policies will substantially reduce the global demand for fossil fuels. As the demand for fossil fuels declines and the price of oil falls, the impact on the oil industry in the US and Canada is severe--curtailing production and stranding their assets. The oil sands are exceptionally vulnerable, and the purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline by the Canadian government looks like a colossal mistake. Read More