carbon tax

Wed, 2014-12-10 21:01Heather Libby
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The Reality of Stephen Harper vs. The Reality of Carbon Taxes

stephen harper, carbon tax

Last night Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his house band, the Van Cats, took to the stage at a Conservative Christmas Party in Ottawa. Seated at the keyboard, the Prime Minister warbled through a performance of the Guns n’Roses classic ‘Sweet Child of Mine.’

Less than 24 hour earlier that the Prime Minister was singing a different tune.

Earlier in the day, the Harper railed against the concept of carbon taxes and regulation of the fossil fuel industry during Question Period in the House of Commons. In response to questions from NDP environment critic Megan Leslie about the Conservative’s 2007 pledge to regulate greenhouse gas emissions, he replied:

Under the current circumstances of the oil and gas sector, it would be crazy — it would be crazy economic policy to do unilateral penalties on that sector; we're clearly not going to do that. …In fact, Mr. Speaker, nobody in the world is regulating their oil and gas sector. I would be delighted if they did. Canada would be there with them.”

All of the above are indeed words, but when used by the Prime Minister in this combination they give a result that’s completely and egregiously incorrect.

Thu, 2014-11-13 13:02Chris Rose
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G20 Governments are Spending $88B Each Year to Explore for New Fossil Fuels. Imagine if Those Subsidies Went to Renewable Energy?

oil change international, subsidies, oil gas exploration

Rich G20 nations are spending about $88 billion (USD) each year to find new coal, oil and gas reserves even though most reserves can never be developed if the world is to avoid catastrophic climate change, according to a new report.

Generous government subsidies are actually propping up fossil fuel exploration which would otherwise be deemed uneconomic, states the report, “The fossil fuel bail-out: G20 subsidies for oil, gas and coal exploration.”

Produced by the London-based Overseas Development Institute and the Washington-based Oil Change International the 73-page analysis also noted the costs of renewables is falling and the investment returns are better than fossil fuels.  

Every U.S. dollar in renewable energy subsidies attracts $2.5 in investment, whilst a dollar in fossil fuels subsidies only draws $1.3 of investment,” said the report released Tuesday, just days ahead of the G20 leaders meeting in Brisbane, Australia.

The report also notes the G20 nations are creating a ‘triple-lose’ scenario by providing subsidies for fossil-fuel exploration.

Thu, 2014-10-23 12:00Peter Wood
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B.C. Ought to Consider Petronas’ Human Rights Record Before Bowing to Malaysian Company's LNG Demands

Penan people of Sarawak blockade a Petronas pipeline

It should come as no surprise that Petronas expects B.C. to cave in to its demands to expedite the process of approving its Pacific NorthWest LNG terminal and natural gas pipeline, lowering taxes and weakening environmental regulations in the process.

After all, Petronas has a well-established record of getting what it wants in the other countries it operates in, such as Sudan, Myanmar, Chad and Malaysia.

This week, the B.C. government did cave to at least one Petronas’ demands — cutting the peak income tax rate for LNG facilities from seven to 3.5 per cent, thereby slashing in half the amount of revenue it’s expecting to receive from the liquefied natural industry.  The government also introduced a standard for carbon pollution for B.C.’s LNG industry, which was hailed as a step in the right direction, but not enough.

In considering Petronas’ bid to develop B.C.’s natural gas resources, it is vital that we consider the company’s track record.

In 2011, I had the opportunity to witness the destruction caused by a Petronas pipeline, while working with the international NGO Global Witness. While staying with the semi-nomadic Penan people of Sarawak (Malaysian Borneo), I heard testimony of how the company had treated them in the course of constructing the pipeline.

Fri, 2014-09-19 12:30Mike De Souza
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Harper’s Timeline: Canada on Climate Change from 2006-2014

stephen harper, climate change, desmog canada, un climate summit

This article originally appeared on mikedesouza.com.

On the eve of an international climate change summit of government leaders in New York, Canada is being challenged about its own domestic record in addressing the heat-trapping pollution that contributes to global warming.

Here’s a historical timeline of some of the major climate change policies, statements and related decisions made by Canada since 2006 when Prime Minister Stephen Harper was first elected to form a government.

From a pledge to introduce a carbon tax in 2007 to internal debates about climate change science, this timeline covers the promises and the action by the Canadian government in recent years.

Tue, 2014-09-16 10:48Chris Rose
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Future of Our Climate Depends on Next Fifteen Years of Investment, New Report States

fossil fuel subsidies, clean energy, better growth better climate, kris krug

Investments in renewable energies and low-carbon infrastructure can help the environment and the economy at the same time, says a comprehensive new report released Tuesday.

The report — Better Growth Better Climate — found that about US $90 trillion will likely be invested in infrastructure in the world’s cities, agriculture and energy systems over the next 15 years, unleashing multiple benefits including jobs, health, business productivity and quality of life.

The decisions we make now will determine the future of our economy and our climate,” Nicholas Stern, Co-Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, said in a media release.

If we choose low-carbon investment we can generate strong, high-quality growth – not just in the future, but now. But if we continue down the high-carbon route, climate change will bring severe risks to long-term prosperity,” he said.

Felipe Calderón, Chair of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate, said the report refutes the idea that humankind must choose between fighting climate change or growing the world’s economy.

That is a false dilemma,” Calderón said. “Today’s report details compelling evidence on how technological change is driving new opportunities to improve growth, create jobs, boost company profits and spur economic development. The report sends a clear message to government and private sector leaders: we can improve the economy and tackle climate change at the same time.”

Wed, 2014-07-09 16:53Derek Leahy
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Soaring Transportation Emissions Preventing Ontario From Meeting Climate Targets: Environment Watchdog

Ontario may have shut down its last coal plant earlier this year, but the province still needs to make major cuts to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it produces if the provincial government is serious about tackling global warming, according to a new report.

The provincial government hasn’t even delivered on commitments it made seven years ago,” Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller said in a statement on Wednesday.

Miller, who is Ontario’s independent environmental watchdog, did not mince words in his report on the province’s slow progress in reducing its overall carbon footprint. He says Ontario will not meet its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets “because [Ontario] has taken very little additional action to implement the Climate Change Action Plan it released seven years ago.”

We need to limit the increase in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius. But that can only be done if we leave two-thirds of the existing oil and natural gas reserves in the ground. People need to understand that brutal fact,” Miller warns.

Wed, 2014-06-25 15:10Chris Turner
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How Shoddy Reporting is Stunting Canada's Climate Change Conversation

Stormtrooper vs. Obi-Wan

This week, Natural Resources Canada released a major report on climate change and its potential impacts in Canada. The report is novel-thick, the first significant NRCan missive on climate change since 2008, and it rattles off a list of near-future worries that will be familiar to anyone watching climate news closely — heavier rains, more extreme weather events, rising sea levels and acidifying oceans.

You can be forgiven if this is the first you heard of it, since the report was published without so much as a press release. I can only assume this is because the report represents a straightforward, data-driven, thoughtful analysis of the status of the planet’s climate and the likely impact of a changing climate on Canada’s environment, economy and society. And this kind of serious talk is just not how you talk about climate change in Ottawa these days.

I speak often to a wide range of Canadian audiences – from conventional and renewable energy professionals to academic crowds to municipal officials – about the status of the green economy’s vanguard, much of which is situated in western Europe. And I frequently encounter some variation on the same question: Why has Canada lagged so far behind in building a low-carbon society? There’s no single answer, but when I’m in need of a shorthand, I say that we’ve failed for the most part to develop and maintain a serious public conversation about climate change. We talk about climate change – a ubiquitous, universal problem of epochal scale – as something distant in time and space, self-contained and inconsequential, unworthy of intense and sustained scrutiny. Sometimes, our government doesn’t even tell the public when it has issued a major report on the subject.

Fri, 2014-03-28 15:02Derek Leahy
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Provinces Take Action on Carbon Emissions Reductions Where Federal Government Is Failing, Says Report

Several provincial initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are closing the gap created by the federal government’s continuing lack of climate legislation. This patchwork of provincial policies may be the future of climate policy in Canada, according to a review of Canadian climate or carbon policy in 2013.

If we have learned anything about carbon policy in Canada, it is that top-down national systems are lost to the federation and we need to embrace bottom-up subnational systems,” argues the review released recently by the prestigious International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) in Winnipeg.

The Institute found in 2013 the federal government’s will to implement greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reducing regulations “evaporated,” but several Canadian provinces had “major successes” in adopting measures to reduce their own provincial carbon footprints. BC’s carbon tax, Quebec’s cap and trade system and Ontario phasing out coal-fired power plants are a few highlights of 2013 filling the lack of federal climate policy gap mentioned in the report.

Tue, 2013-08-20 08:00Indra Das
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Government Records Reveal Canada Supports Global Carbon Pricing

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Government records newly released under access to information legislation say that Canada supports carbon pricing as part of a global climate change strategy.

Mike De Souza writes for Postmedia News, that the documents “come from the Privy Council Office and Environment Canada, and they contrast with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's public criticism of carbon taxes.”

Mon, 2013-04-29 11:28Guest
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Alberta’s (Non)-Carbon Tax and Our Threatened Climate

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This is a guest post by Mark Jaccard, one of Canada's most distinguised sustainable energy economists, and was originally published on his blog, Sustainability Suspicions.

Why is Alberta’s policy a regulation and not a tax?

Alberta’s government officially says it doesn’t have a carbon tax, and I agree. But if I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard someone claim it does, I could buy a lot of anti-oil sands ads, and maybe a politician along the way.

I hear about Alberta’s so-called carbon tax from business people, politicians, journalists, environmentalists, sometimes even economists (who should know better). But the policy in question is, in fact, a “performance regulation,” that sets a maximum “emissions-intensity” for industries, and fines them $15 for each tonne of CO2 emissions in excess of that maximum.

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