No to Light Rail for the Calgary-Edmonton Corridor

The Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future reported to the provincial legislature on May 23, with a recommendation not to proceed with a light-rail link between Calgary and Edmonton at this time because population is not sufficient to support it. However, for future infrastructure planning, the report recommended that the government should identify a greenfield transportation/utility corridor and begin acquiring land, while at the same time developing a regulatory framework to allow the private sector to participate. See the report at http://www.assembly.ab.ca/committees/abeconomicfuture/EHS/Reports/2014/High%20Speed%20Rail%20Transit%20System%20in%20Alberta,%20Final%20Report.pdf .

Ontario Proposes Green Bonds for Transportation

An October 30 announcement from Ontario’s Premier states that Ontario will become the first Canadian province to implement a “green bonds” program to help fund environmentally-friendly transportation. According to the government, the bonds would help address critical infrastructure needs, create jobs, and strengthen the economy while keeping funding interest rates low and minimizing costs for consumers. The bonds would also be internationally certified, so they could be officially recognized as investments in sustainability. Green bonds are securities that raise capital for specific projects with environmental benefits. According to think-tank Clean Energy Canada, green bonds are in high demand which, combined with Ontario’s attractive credit rating, may result in substantial benefit to Ontario’s sustainable transportation sector.

See the government press release at:  http://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2013/10/province-proposes-new-way-to-fund-infrastructure.html?utm_source=ondemand&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=p, and see the Clean Energy response at “Green Bonds: an Investment to Write Home About” at:http://cleanenergycanada.org/2013/11/01/green-bonds-investment-write-home/.

For background on green bonds in Canada, see the articles at the Initiative Climate Bonds website at: http://www.climatebonds.net/category/canada/

Recommendations from Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner

In the 2013 annual report of Ontario Environmental Commissioner, released on June 5, statistics are provided for GHG emissions on a sectoral basis, for transportation, industry, buildings, electricity, agriculture and waste. Transportation remains the biggest emitter of GHGs in Ontario, and passenger vehicles remain the greatest contributor. The Commissioner found that the government is likely to achieve only 60% of the reductions necessary to meet its own 2020 target for a 15% reduction from 1990 levels. He criticizes the lack of coordination between the province’s Long-term Energy Plan and its Climate Change Action Plan, and cites the upcoming review of the LTEP as “an excellent opportunity to further integrate government policy on these two interrelated issues”. He also states that putting “a price on carbon is the best tool I can think of” for improvement.

Read Failing our Future, Review of the Ontario Government’s Climate Change Action Plan Results Report at: http://www.eco.on.ca/uploads/Reports-GHG/2013/2013GHG.pdf, or the summary at: http://www.eco.on.ca/index.php/en_US/pubs/greenhouse-gas-reports/2013-ghg-failing-our-future