So what now? We saw at the recent Warsaw climate talks that the international community still cannot agree on a plan to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.  As long as the costs of both action and inaction remain inequitably spread across all nations, and the costs of any specific storm or disaster cannot be definitively attributed to climate change, I don’t believe we will see nations taking the serious political action that is needed in order to reduce the risks associated with climate change. We clearly need to take aggressive action – I just don’t have faith that the global community can find a way to do so. Read the rest of this entry »


Ontario releases its updated long term energy plan

Yesterday Ontario released its new Long-Term Energy Plan (LTEP). While not immediately apparent as climate policy, the plan for how to develop Ontario’s electricity sector is very much a policy decision, and greenhouse gas emissions were a significant consideration.  Read the rest of this entry »

Yesterday Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne announced that her government will introduce legislation to ban the use of coal for electricity generation in Ontario.  Al Gore was flown in for the press conference to provide some star power.

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Nuclear Power Devil or Salvation Part 2

As much as many environmentalists don’t want to believe it, even with incredibly high annual growth rates, renewable energy sources will not be able to meet rapidly growing global electricity demand.  The truth they don’t want to see is that realistically, if nuclear power is off the table as an option, in many places the alternative is coal.  Read the rest of this entry »

Nuclear Power Devil or Salvation Part 1

The risk of accidents and concerns about long-term storage of nuclear waste have long made opposition to nuclear power de rigueur for environmental groups.   However, nuclear power is also one of the technologies with the greatest potential for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.  With the threats and risks posed by climate change becoming clearer every year, is it time for environmentalists to re-think their anti-nuclear stance? Read the rest of this entry »

Job Killing Carbon Taxes

Economists and policy analysts agree that broad market-based climate policies are the most efficient and effective option available to governments.  However, the Canadian federal government has expressed vociferous opposition to broad market-based policies, particularly carbon taxes.  The phrase “job-killing carbon tax” has been repeated so many times this year that it seems like an internal memo must have decreed that it be included in every energy, economy, or environment-related speech. Read the rest of this entry »

What about the provinces

With the federal government strongly opposed to broad market-based climate policies, several provinces have taken the lead.  B.C., Alberta, and Quebec have all implemented carbon taxes or cap and trade programs, and Ontario has one under development.  While the provinces have undertaken many non-market based actions on climate change as well (such as Ontario’s decision to close down its coal-fired power plants, and Nova Scotia’s decision to cap emissions from its electricity sector), today I am just going to focus on market-based policies. Here is a quick look at what each of these provinces has done: Read the rest of this entry »

So what is Canada doing

Now that I have provided a bit of background on good climate policy, what is Canada doing?  Does it match up at all with what we know about efficient and effective climate policy design? Read the rest of this entry »

Canada set to miss 2020 greenhouse gas targets

When Canada backed out of its Kyoto Protocol commitment to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 6% below 1990 levels, it replaced that commitment with a scaled back Copenhagen Accord target of 17% below 2005 levels by 2020.  It’s not a surprise to those who follow climate policy in this country, but this week a new Environment Canada report confirmed that Canada will not even come close to meeting that target.

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In my last five posts I introduced my criteria for good climate policy and the four main categories of climate policy.  In this post, I’m going to bring those two topics together, and look at how each type of policy measures up. Read the rest of this entry »

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