Browsing the archives for the Amp tag.

MNR Proposal Abdicates Responsibility for SAR

Green Reality, South March Highlands

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (MNR)’s current regime for managing approvals for permits affecting Species-At-Risk (SAR) is already flawed and the proposed changes described in the Environmental Bill of Rights Registry (EBBR 011-7696). make the situation worse – not better.

The current regime is based on providing a process for approving an activity that might harm SAR, or SAR habitat, that is based on an emphasis that mitigates impacts.

  • This is based on a false presumption that mitigation is always possible.
  • Most permit applications are granted if the mitigation for the SAR in question is relocated to a different ecosystem (i.e. moved, transplanted, or seeds replanted).

The existing Approvals process completely ignores the ecosystem implications of a permit by focusing too narrowly on the SAR in question and not on its relationship to the ecosystem it resides in and contributes to.

No vegetation or wildlife (or humans) exist in isolation of other living things.  Each has an impact on the other and within a natural ecosystem, these impacts are beneficial, balanced, and necessary for the whole – otherwise the ecosystem would be different.  Ecosystem change is usually caused by a dis-balance caused by an external event such as human activity, disease, fire, flood, or invasive species.

Instead of (a) requiring a burden of proof that mitigation is possible and (b) ensuring that broader ecosystem effects are included in this process, this proposal makes matters worse by continuing the MNR’s policy of ecosystem piecemealing via regulation.

The breadth of exemptions in the proposal is unreasonably broad because it includes all already approved or planned activities that might damage habitat.

  1. Encompassing all activities is unreasonable in scope.
  2. The proposal does not take into account the fact that approvals (such as a PTTW or CoA) have been granted in the past by agencies without regard to impact on SAR.  These agencies granted their approvals under the expectation that the MNR would fulfill any SAR-related approvals. If the MNR abdicates responsibility, then there is no consideration for SAR under any prior approval granted by any provincial ministry.
  3. The definition is so vague as to allow virtually any activity to quality – for example proposed plans of subdivision approval that have not yet been approved under the Planning Act.  This would remove what little protection exists for all 22 SAR documented in the South March Highlands.

The MNR’s rationale for grandfathering so many activities & exemptions is so dubious as to completely lack credibility.  How will the grandfathering and creation of so many exempt activities that damage habitat contribute to the overall benefit of SAR?

While it is apparent that the MNR seeks to shrink its job in the face of insufficient funding by McGuinty, the creation of so many exemptions will create an unsustainable workload for the MNR to manage the enforcement of compliance with.  Any alleged violation would require considerably further substantiation and validation of prior approvals by other agencies.  In my view, not performing such validation would constitute environmental negligence on the part of the MNR.

The proposed exemptions would also create two classes of SAR (existing and new) which has no reasonable basis in the Crown’s primary obligation to protect all SAR.  This also creates a legal liability for the province in view of recent Federal Court ruling on the fiduciary obligation of the Crown to provide such protection.  Protection of critical habitat is a duty – not a government discretion.

The Federal Court ruling sets a precedent that all levels of government must follow.  In Ontario, this duty is also enshrined in the Environmental Bill of Rights.

The proposed changes amount to abdication, not modernization, and should be opposed.   The Coalition to Protect the South March Highlands, Carolinian Canada CoalitionOntario Nature, and the David Suzuki Foundation have already expressed their opposition to this.

If you also oppose this, please make an individual posting to the EBBR.  Type in the 011-7696 Registry Number in the search box.  Search for and select the proposed change to bring up a description of it.  From there it takes less than 5 minutes to click on the Submit Comment button on the right side of the screen and to fill out the form or to cut and paste your comment.

Feel free to use any or all of the above via cut-and-paste if you wish.

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Demystifying The Price of Gold

Economic Reality, Financial Crisis

Putting long-term savings into GICs is turning out to be riskier than investing in hard asset such as precious metals, land, or other commodities such as oil, copper, etc.

The World Gold Council just published a historical view of central bank “balance sheets” since the 2007 crisis: (click on the chart if you need to make it larger)

A central bank’s “balance sheet’ is a relative measure of money supply.  Although there are more exact measures of money supply, when you see a central bank’s “balance sheet” tripling in the case of the USA, or quadrupling in the case of the UK, it really doesn’t matter which one you use and this one is good enough to understand the price of gold.

The buying power of money over time reflects the forces of supply & demand in an economy.  Basically you have money supply on the one side and economic demand for money on the other (i.e. the size of the economy).  If these are not in balance, then inflation or deflation will occur.

  • Suppose a country has $1 T dollars and an economy measured using a hard asset (like gold) worth $1 T dollars.
  • If the economy grows, as it has since 2007, by roughly 2% compounded per year, it will have grown 10.4% after 5 years – i.e. to $1.1 Trillion.
  • If money supply had stayed constant, each 2007 dollar would be able to buy 10% more in 2012 than it did in 2007 since there is more economic value for the same amount of dollars.
  • But if the money supply tripled over the same time period, as it did in the USA, there would be $3 T dollars to balance that $1.1T in economic activity.
  • So each 2012 dollar is actually worth 1/3 x 1.1 = $0.37 compared to its buying power in 2007.

Can that be true?

  • Consider that the price of gold on Jan 2, 2007 was $639.75 in USD.
  • On Oct 18, 2012 it is $1752 in USD.
  • Deflating back to 2007 dollars, we get $1752 x 0.37 = $642.33!
  • Not quite spot on since we used an average of 2% for economic growth over 5 years instead of individual values.  But you can plainly see what has happened.

By inflating the money supply beyond the natural growth in the economy, the buying power of our long-term savings has dropped by 60%.  The reason why we haven’t seen prices radically increase depends on the type of good:

  • Any commodity which is consumed by economic activity (oil, copper, iron, etc.) will have its price primarily determined by the forces of supply and demand for that commodity (to establish a value) and secondarily by the buying power of money (to establish a price for that value).
  • As an example, we’ve seen a significant increase in the cost of oil & gas but this increase is also affected by global consumption of the fixed supply of oil.  Recently global consumption has been dampened by the global recession being experienced everywhere except Asia, causing a drag on what would otherwise be a soaring price.
  • A manufactured good contains both commodity and labour as inputs.  While the input commodity prices in a manufactured product like a refrigerator or car has increased, the labour cost has decreased since most manufacturing has moved to low cost labour centres such as China, Thailand, and Vietnam.
  • Cheap labour has acted as a brake on inflation in developed economies – effectively exporting the inflation problem to Asian economies.  As an example, the official inflation rate in China has been 2 – 4x the North American rate since 2007 and the actual rate is widely believed to be higher than the official numbers.
  • A precious metal such as gold, or a non-consumable good such as land, will act as a perfect reflector for the buying power of money.  For example, although the value of land in the USA was artificially depressed by the explosion of the housing market bubble in 2007, the price of housing in economies unaffected by that crash, such as Canada, has soared.
  • Much of this increase is not due to another bubble forming, but due to the decline in the buying power of the dollar.  In other words, the house is still worth what it was in 2007, it just takes more 2012 dollars to buy it since a 2012 dollar buys less than a 2007 dollar.

So if you think that the banking crisis is over in Europe and that the USA can afford its ridiculous debt levels without either raising taxes or cutting military spending, then go ahead and invest your hard-earned savings in GICs.

Or you can invest some of your savings in gold as a safe hedge against further erosion of your buying power in future.

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Winter Kill in the South March Highlands

Green Reality, Legislative Gaps, South March Highlands

There are laws to protect nesting birds in Ontario, but incredibly no law protects nesting mammals!  This post uses tabs, so be sure to click on each one to see the entire article.

Protecting Birds

The Federal Migratory Bird Convention Act was passed as long ago as 1917 as a result of an agreement between Canada and the United States (the U.S. passed an identical act, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, in 1918).  This law enables the Migratory Birds Regulations that further prohibit the destruction of nests for a wide variety of birds anywhere in Canada.  Penalties for violating the Act are stiff – up to $500 K for corporations and up to $100 K for individuals.

This effectively prevents the clearing of trees between April and the end of July in Ontario since it can be difficult to ensure that no breeding birds are nesting within a forested area.

In Ottawa, the City has published Standard Mitigation Measures that clearly sets out that no clearing of trees and vegetation is permitted between April 15 and July 31 unless a qualified biologist has conducted a pre-clearing survey within 5 days prior to the removal of trees.

Mammal Dens

In winter, most mammals either hibernate or den in a torpor-like state.  They will find dens (i.e. nests) for that purpose in trees, caves, fallen logs, or or create suitable dens in trees and other protected areas such as abandoned buildings.

Porcupine Den in South March Highlands

Hibernating mammals include bats, some species of ground squirrels, mice and several species of rodents,  some species of rabbit, skunks, chipmunks, woodchucks, ground hogs, etc.  Mammals that truly hibernate will slow their heart and breathing rates to conserve energy and allow their body temperatures to drop to near zero.  Many of these mammals will hibernate while pregnant so that they are ready to give birth by spring.

Many mammals that don’t truly hibernate will conserve energy by limiting movement by sleeping deeply and for long periods of time, but will wake up during warmer periods to find food.  Examples of these denning mammals include bears, raccoons, porcupine, some species of ground squirrels, shrews, mink, otter, fox, weasels, beaver, etc.

Some denning species will also slow their heart rates during sleep (but not as much as hibernating species), making them appear slow and lethargic when awake during winter.  Bears and raccoons are examples of species that do not truly  hibernate but come close to it.  Females of these mammals are also likely to be gestating over the winter so that they are ready to give birth when spring arrives.

Porcupine in Den

Vulnerable

Denning and hibernating mammals are as vulnerable as nesting birds.  If their dens are threatened, hibernating animals cannot be awakened to flee, and denning animals have no where to go during winter.

Many mammals have a limited range due to the territorial needs of others in its species.  For example a porcupine generally stays within a 100 m radius in winter and within 1.5 km in summer .  Most mammals will fight to defend their territory from invaders of their own kind.

Within it’s range, a replacement den may not be available and raw materials that could otherwise be used to construct a den (such as twigs, logs) are usually frozen or covered with snow.  This means that a displaced mammal is exposed to the elements.

Exposed Porcupine That Lost It's Den

The photo above was taken in Beaver Pond Forest shortly after tree clearing had begun in extremely cold temperatures.  Despite it’s protective fur, every non-hibernating mammal is vulnerable to cold during the dead of winter and can freeze to death without shelter.

Winter Clearing

The operator of heavy equipment, such as the one shown below employed by KNL to clear-cut the Beaver Pond Forest in winter, is not able to see if mammals are hibernating or denning and in any case is certainly not likely to exit the warm cab in winter to examine every tree prior to cutting it down.

Heavy Tree Clearing Equipment

The City of Ottawa’s mitigation guidelines state “Avoid the use of heavy equipment in wetlands and watercourses during the winter, when fish, amphibians and reptiles may be hibernating.” but is silent on the protection of mammals in winter when they are most vulnerable.

The City’s only mention of mammal protection is  “Avoid vegetation clearing during sensitive times of the year for local wildlife, such as spring and early summer (when many animals bear their young).” which ignores the winter-long gestation period for mammals.

Winter Kill

The result of winter tree clearing is inevitably death.  Either via direct injury caused by crushing the animal when the tree is felled by heavy equipment, or by freezing to death from exposure as a result of being homeless in winter.

Female Porcupine Frozen To Death

Based on the acreage  of the Beaver Pond Forest (30 hectares), and the average number of Porcupines within a given area (12 porcupines / km 2), it is possible to estimate the size of the porcupine population prior to tree clearing in Beaver Pond Forest to be approximately 4 porcupines.  A field study conducted immediately after tree clearing completed, located 3 of those porcupines and found 2 of them dead – both females who were likely pregnant and less likely to survive without shelter.

In other words, the winter tree clearing approved by the City and conducted by KNL killed at least half of the population of porcupines and possibly 2/3 of them (allowing for the possibility that there were only 3 at the outset).  Other mammals were undoubtedly killed too, however, porcupines are more readily found as they are less likely to be consumed by carnivorous birds and other mammals because of their quills.

So why do we have laws that protect nesting birds and not nesting mammals?

  • Why has Ontario not passed effective wildlife protection laws?
  • Why has the Canadian Wildlife Federation not pressed for protection of mammals?
  • Why does the SPCA not object to the winter slaughter of animals?
  • Why does the City of Ottawa authorize the winter slaughter of mammals, reptiles, and amphibians?
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Why Engineering Standards For Evironmental Studies Are Needed

Canadian Politics, Legislative Gaps

Ecology Ottawa conducted an analysis of political contributions made by housing developers to Ottawa City Councillors during the last municipal election.

In total, over $121,300 was contributed to winning candidates (the study did not examine contributions to losing candidates).  Top of the list was Gord Hunter who received over 49% of funding for his political campaign from developers.

Not surprising considering that Mr. Hunter is a member of the City’s Planning & Environment Committee.  Other members of the PEC that received substantial contributions are Bob Monet (32%) and Michel Bellemare (25%).

Fortunately the Chair and Vice-Chair of the committee had the integrity to decline such donations.  However, there is nothing other than personal integrity preventing them from doing so.

The municipal planning & environment committee is the only oversight that municipal environmental studies have.  The City of Ottawa has an indepedant Environmetal Advisory Committee, however, their mandate does not include quality assurance of environmental studies.

As far as the provincial Ministry of Environment is concerned, Class Environmental Assessments are conducted on a self-assessment basis.  These are the vast majority of environmental studies and the  province only requires that they be done and that they address prescribed content  – not that they be done properly!

For example the province only requires that proponents of Class Environmental Assessments consider alternatives and document their decision making process – not that they follow any specific decision making process, or even test that they have a sound process for evaluating decisions!  This is the loophole that allowed the City of Ottawa to ignore it’s own planning criteria in evaluating alternatives for the Terry Fox Road Expansion.

Another example is that the province does not provide clear-cut criteria for measuring the impact of a proposed project.  For example, the Terry Fox Road Expansion which threatens 3 endangered species (because it cuts across a Provincially Significant wetland)  is subject to the same process as the Hazeldean Road Expansion which poses no threat to endangered species (because it occurs in a semi-urban area).

So without minimum standards governing engineering practice to be followed when conducting Class EAs, there are no checks and balances in the process – other than the checks written by developers!

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No Choice At All

Civil Rights

False Choices

The Charter of Rights & Freedoms protects us from unreasonable search.

Yet CATSA is searching Canadians on wholesale basis and since virtually all travellers are innocent, these searches are unreasonable as they lack probable cause. 

The Charter provides that the rights of the minority may be compromised to protect the majority, but in this case the rights of both the minority and the majority are being violated. 

Offering travellers a choice between two types of illegal search is no choice at all.

How You Can Protest

You can email the Transport Minister:  John Baird

You can email the Justice Minister & Attorney General of Canada:  Rob Nicholson

You can write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper.

You can post to blog sites. Blog postings are generally searchable so they will turn up in Google searches. Most newspapers have blog sites.

You can join a Facebook group such as “Stop TSA Full Body Scans” at

You can complain to the Canadian Civil Liberties Association by calling Graeme Norton, Director, Public Safety Project, 416-363-0321, x. 223. The CCLA has a rather weak policy position currently on this and could use some more backbone.

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Green Party passes NDP?

Canadian Politics

Nationwide

A new EKOS poll shows that Canadian support for the Green Party is significantly higher in all regions except for Alberta, where it is holding steady.

The EKOS poll asked Canadians “If a Federal election were held tomorrow, who would you vote for?”.

Nationally, 13.4% of Canadians would vote Green, up 2.2 points. In British Columbia, Green support has jumped 6.2 points to a high of 18.5 and a similar jump of 5.1 points appears in Atlantic Canada.

Ekos January 2010 Poll

Canada (MoE 2.4)

Conservatives: 33.1 (-2.8)
Liberals: 27.8 (+1.1)
NDP: 16.0 (-1.0)
Green: 13.4 (+2.2)
Bloc Quebecois*: 9.8 (+0.6)
Undecided: 14.7


The EKOS poll would have you believe that the Green Party has now surpassed the NDP in both Ontario and Quebec.  A review of the statistics shows (sadly) that this conclusion is premature.

Provincial Details

British Columbia (MoE 7.32)
Conservatives: 34.2 (-0.8)
NDP: 25.9 (-2.9)
Liberals:  21.4 (-2.2)
Green: 18.5 (+6.2)

Note that with a margin of error of 7.32, the Green Party could place as high as 2nd in BC standings, but more than likely in 3rd place as only 1/2 of the MoE is needed to overtake the Liberals.

Alberta (MoE 8.95)
Conservatives: 61.7 (+1.0)
Liberals: 15.0 (+1.1)
Green: 13.2 (-1.9)
NDP: 10.0 (-0.4)

With a MoE of nearly 9, the Green Party could also place 2nd in Alberta on the high side and drop to a 2% last place on the low side.  Again only 1/2 MoE is necessary to take 2nd place.

Saskatchewan/Manitoba (MoE 11.55)
Conservatives: 48.6 (-4.5)
NDP: 27.3 (+6.8)
Liberals: 12.4 (-5.2)
Green: 11.7 (+2.9)

The MoE is almost the same as the entire Green score.  Both the Greens and Liberals are barely statistically significant in the mid-west.  Is this the Oil Sand’s effect skewing the Saskatchewan results?

Ontario (MoE 3.91)
Liberals: 36.0 (+2.5)
Conservatives: 35.4 (-3.6)
Green: 14.3 (+1.6)
NDP: 14.2 (-0.6)

The MoE of close to 4 indicates that the Greens & NDP are tied for 3rd in Ontario as are the Liberals and Conservatives for 1st.

Quebec (MoE 4.85)
Bloc Quebecois: 38.2 (+1.4)
Liberals: 27.5 (+2.9)
Conservatives: 14.6 (-2.7)
Green: 10.2 (+1.5)
NDP: 9.6 (-3.2)

Statistically, the Greens, Conservatives, and NDP are tied for 3rd in Quebec.

Atlantic Canada (10.82)
Conservatives: 32.6 (-2.6)
Liberals: 28.4 (-2.8)
NDP: 27.2 (+0.3)
Green: 11.8 (+5.1)

With a MoE of close to 11 the Green Party is not statistically relevant in Atlantic Canada and there is a 3-way horse race for 1st.

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Grim Outlook for US Banks in 09

Financial Crisis

According to RBC Capital Markets, more than 1,000 US banks may fail over the next 3 – 5 years as commercial loan losses pile up.  This would be on the same level as the great savings & loan collapse back in 1988 – 1990 when 1,386 lending institutions failed.

To put that into perspective, according to the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corp, FDIC, there are 8.309 lending institutions in the USA and only 25 failed in 2008.  Yet 9 have already failed in one month so far in 2009.

The Royal Bank’s recently published Q109 financials also bear witness to the sorry state of US banking.  The Royal’s Provision for Credit Losses (PCL) in US banking soared from $10M in Q107 to $71M in Q108 to $200M in Q109 = 75% of the total PCL for the Royal Bank. 

Royal Bank Gross Impaired Loans

The Royal’s US Gross Impaired Loans (GIL), illustrated above, – which are loans that are highly likely to become credit losses – also soared from $0.1B in Q107 to $0.6B in Q108 to a staggering $2.2B in Q109 = 63% of the total GIL. 

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NonTraditional Governments In Canada

Canadian Politics

Coalitions

Coalition History In Canada:

1867 – John A MacDonald (National) Conservative-Liberal

1867 – John S MacDonald (Ontario) Conservative-Liberal

1878 – John A MacDonald (National) Conservative-Liberal

1891 – John Abbott (National) Conservative-Liberal

1917 – Robert Borden (National) Conservative-Liberal

1920 – Arthur Meighen (National) Conservative-Liberal

1926 – Arthur Meighen (National) Conservative

1931 – John Bracken (Manitoba) Progressive Conservative

1940 – John Bracken (Manitoba) Conservative Cooperative Commonwealth Federation (CCF)

1941 – John Hart (BC) Liberal & Conservative Coalition

1949 – Ingemar Johnson (BC) Liberal & Conservative Coalition

1985 – David Peterson (Ontario) Liberal NDP Coalition

1989 – Roy Romanow (Saskatchewan) Liberal – NDP

Note that 10 out of 13 involved leaders from the Conservative party.

Non-Elected Federal

There have been 12 designated Prime Ministers in Canada, half of which were Conservative:

      1873 – Alexander Mackenzie – Liberal

      1891 – John Abbott – Conservative-Liberal

      1892 – John Thompson – Conservative

      1894 – Mackenzie Bowell – Conservative

      1896 – Charles Tupper – Conservative

      1920 – Arthur Meighen – National Liberal & Conservative Party

      1926 – Arthur Meighen – Conservative

      1948 – Louis St. Laurent – Liberal

      1968 – Pierre Trudeau – Liberal

      1984 – John Turner – Liberal

      1993 – Kim Campbell – Conservative

      2003 – Paul Martin – Liberal

John Abbott and MacKenzie Bowell were non-elected Senators while Charles Tupper and John Turner were never elected as an MP.

Non-Elected Ontario

There have been 15 designated Premiers of Ontario:

1867 John S MacDonald – Liberal-Conservative

1872 Oliver Mowatt – Liberal

1896 Arthur Hardy – Liberal

1899 George W Ross – Liberal

1914 William Hearst – Conservative

1930 George Henry  – Conservative

1942 Gordon Conant  –  Liberal

1943 Harry Nixon  – Liberal

1948 Thomas Kennedy  – Conservative

1949 Leslie Frost  –  Conservative

1961 John Robarts  – Conservative

1971 Bill Davis  – Conservative

1985 Frank Miller  –  Conservative

1985 David Petersen  – Liberal

2002 Ernie Eves  – Conservative

Non-Elected Quebec

There have been 22 designated premiers of Quebec:

1873 Gédéon Ouimet – Conservative

1874 Charles Boucher de Boucherville – Conservative

1878 Henri-Gustave Joly de Lotbinière – Liberal

1879 Sir Joseph-Adolphe Chapleau – Conservative

1882 Joseph-Alfred Mousseau – Conservative

1884 John Jones Ross – Conservative

1887 Louis-Olivier Taillon – Conservative

1887 Honoré Mercier – Parti National

1891 Charles Boucher de Boucherville – Conservative

1892 Louis-Olivier Taillon – Conservative

1896 Edmund James Flynn – Conservative

1900 Simon-Napoléon Parent – Liberal

1905 Lomer Gouin – Liberal

1920 Louis-Alexandre Taschereau – Liberal

1936 Adélard Godbout – Liberal

1959 Paul Sauvé – Union Nationale

1960 Antonio Barrette – Union Nationale

1968 Jean-Jacques Bertrand – Union Nationale

1985 Pierre-Marc Johnson – Parti Québécois

1994 Daniel Johnson – Liberal

1996 Lucien Bouchard – Parti Québécois

2003 Bernard Landry- Parti Québécois

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A Carbon Tax Is Inevitable

Canadian Politics, Climate Change

Canadians emit an average of 19 tons of CO2 per person per year compared to 8 in the UK and even less in Scandinavia. A cap and trade system will limit the growth of CO2 emissions but it will not really help diminish them very quickly.

Cap & Trade

This is because all cap & trade systems are based on limiting growth in emissions above their current level – forcing companies to become more emission efficient if they are to grow. If a company cannot reduce emissions faster than they intend on growing, then it must trade to get credits that another company is able to generate via “excess” reductions in their reduction program.  The idea is to progressively lower the cap over time, and this clearly takes a while to bring emissions down.  For example the European Union has had a cap & trade system in place for nearly 30 years but only 2 of 25 countries actually have cap limits below historical levels!

Since a cap & trade system is based on limiting the quantity of emissions, the value of the credits is largely determined by how fast the cap is reduced.  If the rate of quantity reduction is too high, not enough credits can be generated to be traded and the cost of compliance soars.  On the other hand if the rate of cap reduction is too slow, then the value of the credits are too low to be worth obtaining.

It is well known and widely accepted that current levels are too high. In fact Kyoto is all about reducing emissions by 6% below the 1990 level. Without effective government leadership, Canada is now running 22% above our 1990 level – a full 28% off target.

Carbon Tax

The main alternative to a cap & trade system is a carbon tax.  This essentially fixes the price of compliance at a known level and corporate environmental impact planning is significantly clearer.  The downside is that companies could choose to absorb the tax as a cost of doing business if it is not high enough – thereby resulting in insufficient reduction in emissions.

It is inevitable that Canada and the USA will impose a carbon tax since it is the only proven way to make any real progress on diminishing CO2 emissions. It has worked in other countries (without killing their economies) and it can work here.  For example, the European Energy Agency estimates that the EU-15 has spent approx 1-2% of its GDP annually on environmental protection measures since 2001 and all those countries realized GDP growth rates equal to or higher than Canada and the USA during this decade.

Inevitability

The fallacy of so-called “intensity-based” targets is evident in any chart that shows whether progress is being made or not relative to Kyoto commitments. Since the USA did not sign Kyoto, only Canadian data is available from official sources as illustrated below:

United Nations Data

So if intensity-based targets are meaningless, and if we have to do something about this intolerable situation sooner rather than later, we need a real mechanism for reduction.  Carbon taxes can work and can also be used in combination with a cap & trade system.  In fact in Europe, more and more countries are adding some form of carbon tax into their national policy for emission reductions as a means of accelerating compliance under the EU-wide cap & trade system.

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