Monday, 28 January 2008

Getting to 2050: Canada's Transition to a Low-emission Future

graphic: Global Commons Institute, UK
Just released, the National Roundtable's Getting to 2050 is the Canadian equivalent of the UK Stern Report -- a middle-of-the-road policy options study, by conventional economists and business leaders. Like Stern, it concludes that the capitalist system has more to lose by a BAU (business-as-usual) approach than by immediate government commitment to reducing greenhouse gases.

The Harper government, preferring "greenwash" plans from oilsands lobbyists, has so far rejected (pt 1 and pt 2) the blue-ribbon report, flying in the face of its approval both by big business and by environmental NGOs. The NRTEE Chair pleads for "an early and clear price signal" to influence long-range industrial R&D investment and consumer behaviour. He points out that together with planetwide action under UNFCCC, Canadian can choose an "emissions tax, a cap-and-trade system, or a combination of the two ... complemented by other sector-specific regulatory measures to force emission reductions from those parts of the economy that do not respond to a price signal."

Current members are: Glen Murray, Toronto, Ontario (Chair); David Kerr, Toronto, Ontario (Vice-Chair); Robert Page, TransAlta Professor of Environmental, Management & Sustainability, Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta (Vice-Chair); Janet L.R. Benjamin, North Vancouver, British Columbia; Pauline Browes Toronto, Ontario; Angus Bruneau, Chairman, Board of Directors, Fortis Inc., St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador; David Chernushenko, President, Green & Gold Inc., Ottawa, Ontario; Francine Dorion, Vice-President of Environment and Technology, Abitibi-Consolidated, Quebec; Richard Drouin, Counsel at McCarthy Tétrault, Montréal, Quebec; Timothy R. Haig, President and CEO, BIOX Corporation, Oakville, Ontario; Christopher Hilkene, President, Clean Water Foundation, Toronto, Ontario; Mark Jaccard, Professor, School of Resource and Environmental Management, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, British Columbia; Stephen Kakfwi, Yellowknife, Northwest Territories; Ken McKinnon, Chair, Yukon Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment Board, Whitehorse, Yukon; Kerry Morash, Clarica Advisor, Liverpool, Nova Scotia; Richard Prokopanko, Director, Corporate Affairs for B.C., Alcan Inc., Vancouver, British Columbia; Wishart Robson, Climate Change Advisor, Nexen Inc., Calgary, Alberta; Robert Slater, Adjunct Professor, Environmental Policy, Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario; David McLaughlin, NRTEE President & CEO.

See NRTEE, carbon credits and Simpol in Wikipedia; WBCSD, USCAP, EU Emissions Trading System, and the Canadian government's own 2003 proposal for carbon trading. With easily-understood graphics : Princeton University's explanation of the sector-specific Socolow wedges that underly the NRTEE report, and the Global Commons Institute's C&C.

Despite the enthusiasm of finance and big business for such schemes, much remains to be done to develop governance mechanisms: enforcing a "gold standard" in offsets, and stopping scams in carbon markets. See recent studies by Carbon Trade Watch, Cornerhouse, Sinkswatch, Dag Hammarskjold Foundation, Delicious tags carbonTrading and governance in the lower righthand column.

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