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Home Policy Articles: Environment & Climate

In a country that is rich in natural resources, economic development and environmental stewardship are crucial in ensuring the land, water, and air are healthy for future generations. An important aspect of environmental policy is developing new practices to promote sustainable development, such as alternative fuels, recycling programs, and renewable energy resources. Not surprisingly, governments must respond to emerging environmental issues such as climate change and biotechnology, which often places key stakeholders and their interests at odds with one another.

This section is your guide to environmental policy in Canada.



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Advancing Sustainable Development in Canada: Policy Issues and Research Needs popular

This paper identifies the specific issues of sustainable development that are most important to Canadians in the mid to long term. The report focuses on seven area: urban redesign, freshwater management, eco-region sustainability, impacts of globalization on Canada, signals and incentives, unsustainable lifestyles, and international engagement. In the context of each topic the report explains the problem and identifies research needs in the area. Broader conclusions are drawn and policies ideas are advanced as well as implementation strategies.

Will We Rise to the Challenge? Eight Mega Issues Facing Canada popular

This briefing tracks eight key trends that are having a major impact on Canada’s business and public policy environment. Charles Barrett and Anne Golden point to the global economy and the consequences of competition from developing countries. They examine Canada’s relationship with the United States and the competing priorities of defence and trade. They also look at the need for investment in human capital and innovation for Canada to compete on the global stage, as well as the importance of addressing climate change and environmental issues.

Adaptive Management of Climate Change Risks

Indur Goklany posits that despite claims that climate change is “the most important environmental problem of this century,” evidence shows there are other more immediate and pressing threats to human and environmental health.

An Action Plan for Kyoto

This brief report, prepared by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA), is a technical paper to accompany the CCPA’s Alternative Federal Budget 2003. As in several previous years, the CCPA argues the federal government will almost certainly post a much greater surplus in the 2002-03 fiscal year.

Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2002/2003

This survey, authored by Liv Fredricksen, presents a “report card” to governments regarding their mining policies. It takes into account several public policy factors, including taxation, regulation, labour issues and political stability, and then measures the effect of these factors on “attracting and winning investments.” The survey covers 45 jurisdictions, including all of Canada, numerous US states, as well as several other countries. Several Canadian jurisdictions finished near the top of the index, with Alberta taking the highest ranking. British Columbia finished last within Canadian jurisdictions, tying Russia with a score of 23 out of a possible 100.

Assessing the Viability of an Ethanol Industry in Saskatchewan

This paper explores five key questions that require attention in the determination of the viability of an ethanol industry for a small jurisdiction with a small local ethanol demand.

Back to Hewers of Wood and Drawers of Water: Energy, Trade, and the Demise of Petrochemicals in Alberta

According to Terisa Turner and Diana Gibson, Canadians question why Canada traded its energy sovereignty with the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Balancing Act: Water Conservation and Economic Growth

Despite being a relatively water-rich country, Canada’s water resources are not infinite and are not evenly distributed. Karen Wilkie points out that some regions, like southern Alberta, are reaching the limits of local water supply. She focuses on Alberta, where periods of recent drought, rapid population growth, and an expanding economy thirsty for water are adding to the Province’s water shortages.

Buried Treasure -- Groundwater permitting and pricing in Canada

This comprehensive report was written to help fill the need for greater awareness of the value of groundwater and an understanding of how it is regulated. The report includes full chapters on: Groundwater science in Canada, Groundwater allocation law in Canada, Provincial groundwater permitting requirements, Public participation opportunities in groundwater permitting, and Groundwater pricing requirements.

Can Markets Save Canada’s National Parks?

Green and LeRoy offer a comprehensive view of, in their view, how the politics of park management have prevented Parks Canada from considering the full range of policy options that could help secure a sustainable future for Canada’s national parks. Using statistical analysis they show that although the size of Canada’s protected areas has grown dramatically, the government has used new parks to fuel economic development and reward political interests. They also point out that the federal government has failed to protect Canada’s heritage sites and buildings.

Canada’s Energy Future: An Integrated Path

In this report, Jason Churchill, Len Coad, and Maureen Dickson propose that Canada’s energy policy must take into consideration the international obligations to reduce green house gas (GHG) emissions, and environmental protection for present and future generations of Canadians.

Climate Change: An Opportunity for a Bilateral Approach

In this report from a conference organized by the Public Policy Forum and the Woodrow Wilson Center, Michael Lister highlights conclusions regarding bilateral Canada-US climate change policies.

Drop by Drop: Urban Water Conservation Practices in Western Canada

This report seeks to raise awareness and understanding about urban water issues. The authors adopt an urban focus because eight out of 10 westerners live in urban areas, and municipal governments are key players in the delivery and treatment of water.

Electricity Restructuring: Securing Clean Power

Securing Clean Power is part of the Conference Board of Canada’s Electricity Restructuring series. In this paper, Down ask whether liberalized electricity markets inevitably lead to poorer environmental performance. To answer this question, they examine the impact of electricity restructuring on the environment, as well as the implications of restructuring for environmental policy in the United States, Great Britain and Canada.

EnviroCentre: Sense and Sustainability in the National Capital

As Anne Makhoul explains, the EnviroCentre offers a range of programs and information for individuals and businesses seeking to improve their bottom lines while making a positive environmental impact.

Environmental Indicators (Sixth Edition)

In this paper, Brown, examine what they view as a disconnect between the perceptions of Canadian students about environmental trends and the reality of the situation.

EPCOR: A Study of Ownership, Accountability, and the Public Interest

As Diana Gibson explains, EPCOR was founded on Edmonton’s power and water utilities, yet operates in other provinces and in the US.

Ethanol: The Promise and the Peril

Robert Sopuck’s report Ethanol: The Promise and the Peril argues that the Government of Manitoba should not subsidize the Province’s ethanol production industry. Sopuck begins by explaining how wheat is fermented to produce ethanol, which is then used to make ethanol-blended gasoline. There is controversy, he claims, over the economic and environmental effects of this production.

Greenhouse Gas Reductions: Not Warranted, Not Beneficial

In this paper Kenneth Green addresses the issue of regional climate change (rather than global climate change). According to Green, the debate over climate change is increasingly moving towards alarmist regional climate predictions. He cites a report published by the Union of Concerned Scientists as an example. This report focuses on the Great Lakes region and the environmental threats it faces. According to Green, however, regional climate modeling of this sort is highly flawed.

How Research of the Profit Improves Environmental Quality

Pierre Desrochers considers the environmental impact of industrialized nations in a new light. He points out that industrialized nations have far higher environmental regulations.

How Saskatchewan Can Develop A Sustainable Environment and a Worker-Friendly Economy

Jan Norris argues that a sustainable environment is one that is in balance –that is, it is in a state of dynamic equilibrium. As technology has become more powerful, she argues that people’s role in the environment has increased dramatically and dangerously; in fact, the author suggests that human activity is so vast in scale that it threatens to knock the planet’s environment off-balance.

Implementing a Strategy for the Long-term Management of Used Nuclear Fuel

Sandra Lopes provides an overview of the December 2004 conference hosted by the Public Policy Forum, in addition to summarizing its conclusions. Senior leaders in the private and non-profit sectors attended this conference. They were asked to comment on potential elements of an implementation plan that would ensure that Canadians would be confident in the long-term solutions undertaken to manage nuclear fuel waste.

Implementing Kyoto: Risks and Choices

Howatson and Rheaume argue that implementing the Kyoto Protocol presents both the opportunity to protect the environment and provide business opportunities, but that it also present costs and risks that need to be managed and mitigated. The authors contend that critical attention must be paid to ensure that short-term action does not outweigh the serious thought and debate required to work out long-term strategies that make the most sense for Canada.

Integrated Landscape Mangement Modelling

This paper discusses more effective land management strategies to improve the environment while maintaining economic prosperity. The paper is the prduct of a workshop including individuals from government, industry and non-government organizations. They identified what integrated landscape managment would entail, thetypes of serveices that would be required to impliment the program, any limitations that such a model may encounter as well as strategies for filling these gaps.

Integrated Waste Management: Public Policy Challenges and Potential Solutions

As Canada’s economy and urban populations grow, waste from households and industrial, commercial, and institutional (ICI) sources have grown at a rate that too often outpaces municipal and provincial efforts to deal with it.

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