In a report released on August 22, BlueGreen Canada calls on the Ontario government to cut energy use by 25 per cent by 2025 (“25 by 25”). According to the economic analysis commissioned by BlueGreen and conducted by Stokes Economic Consulting, reducing consumption by 25% would result in 25,000 new jobs, $3.7 billion more in GDP, lower deficits for both the federal and provincial governments, and a 9% reduction in carbon emissions by 2025. BlueGreen Canada states that a more aggressive conservation approach is supported by environmental groups, and by Enbridge and Union Gas companies, and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.
The release of the BlueGreen report coincides with a formal review of the provincial government’s long term energy plan, begun in July, with the results promised by Fall 2013. In announcing the review, Energy Minister Chiarelli wrote: “this government believes conservation must play a more prominent role in our energy planning. Conservation is the most efficient way to help ratepayers reduce their costs.”
A related report released by Pembina Institute on September 13, Renewable is Doable, shows that past forecasts have overestimated Ontario’s demand for electricity, resulting in plans for more unnecessary nuclear reactors. The authors argue that investing in conservation and green energy options is a more cost-effective way to meet Ontario’s energy needs.
The Economic Impacts of Reducing Natural Gas and Electricity Use in Ontario (Supporting Economic Analysis report by Stokes Economic Consulting) is available at: http://www.bluegreencanada.ca/sites/default/files/Energy%20Efficiency%20Impact%20Study.pdf
Ontario government Long term Energy Plan Review website is at: http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/en/ltep/; the Minister’s remarks are at: http://www.energy.gov.on.ca/en/ltep/making-choices/#conservation
Renewable is Doable: Affordable and Flexible Options for Ontario’s Long-Term Energy Plan is at: http://www.pembina.org/pub/2479
Greenpeace International published six case studies in August: “exposing controversial operations that are posing the greatest risk to the FSC’s integrity…(and)…highlighting best practice operations that are meeting and/or exceeding the FSC’s principles and criteria. These case studies will show the standards that must be consistently met if the FSC is to maintain its credibility.” Topics include the operations of Resolute Forest Products in Canada (the bad) and Ecotrust Canada (the good), as well as operations in Finland, Indonesia, Africa (re palm oil plantations), and REDD. Go to: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/Campaign-reports/Forests-Reports/FSC-Case-Studies/
Public dislike for the carbon tax was a key issue in the recent Australian election, which saw the victory of the Liberal Party under Tony Abbott. A key plank in Abbott’s platform was to scrap the carbon tax, which has become his first order of business. He has also announced the abolition of the country’s independent climate change commission, and scrapping of a fund to support green technology. See Abbott Government begins Process to Repeal Carbon Tax at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-09-09/abbott-carbon-tax/4945330, and Tony Abbott sworn in as Australia Prime Minister at the BBC-Asia website at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-24121938
According to an article published in Nature Climate Change online in mid-August, Vancouver ranks 11th amongst the world’s 136 large coastal cities at risk of flooding, as measured by annual average losses of people or “assets”. Most at risk: Guangzhou, Miami, New York, New Orleans, and Mumbai. The article is part of an ongoing OECD project to explore the policy implications of flood risks due to climate change and economic development. Future Flood Losses in Major Coastal Cities is available for purchase (with a brief free preview) at the Nature Climate Change website at: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate1979.html#access. Also see a summary at the OECD website at: http://www.oecd.org/env/resources/future-flood-losses-in-major-coastal-cities.htm
Vancouver adopted a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy in July 2012 to guide building and maintenance of streets, sewers, building infrastructure, parks and greenspaces. See http://vancouver.ca/green-vancouver/climate-change-adaptation-strategy.aspx for links to the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, plus implementation reports for 2011-2012, and 2012-2013.
In June 2013, New York unveiled a plan in response to Superstorm Sandy, which proposes more than 250 initiatives, costed at $19.5 billion – most of which would be spent to repair homes and streets damaged by Sandy, retrofit hospitals and nursing homes, elevate electrical infrastructure, improve ferry and subway systems and fix drinking water systems. See A Stronger, More Resilient New York, at: http://www.nyc.gov/html/sirr/html/report/report.shtml
A recent article in the journal of the Ontario Centre for Engineering and Public Policy discusses sustainable infrastructure as a social and technical system, arguing that sustainable infrastructure requires consideration of the broader social and political context, in addition to the more traditional economic and physical aspects. See “Climate Change, Sustainable Infrastructure and the Challenges Facing Engineers” in Policy Engagement (Sept/Oct 2013) at: http://members.peo.on.ca/index.cfm/document/1/ci_id/93318/la_id/1
A report published by WWF and the Carbon Disclosure Project of New York is directed to the business community, and argues that a 2020 “science-based” emissions reduction target can be reached profitably in steps of 3% per year reductions. The report strikes an urgent note, emphasizing the benefits of the “latent cost savings” of energy efficiency, and quantifying the costs of extreme weather and the necessity of pricing of carbon emissions. The 3% Solution: Driving Profits through Carbon Reduction is at: https://www.cdproject.net/CDPResults/3-percent-solution-report.pdf