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Home Policy Articles: Environment & Climate: Page 3

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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The Energy Accounts of the Nova Scotia Genuine Progress Index

This extensive study analyses and evaluates the sustainability and impact of energy use in Nova Scotia. The report is collaborative and captures the multi-dimensional aspects of sustainable development and energy resources. The study includes descriptions of Genuine Progress Index (GPI) methodology and criteria for selection and framework. This energy account looks specifically at the social economic and environmental impacts of energy use in Nova Scotia and provides real monetary costs of energy systems. The report concludes with recommendations on how to improve and expand on the report in the future, how to identify where more research is needed for more effective energy use in the future and how to use policy to achieve greater energy sustainability.

The Environment: From Local to Global in a Cosmic Blink of 25 Years

In this article, Elizabeth May writes that environmental issues have moved from local, to regional, to global status in the past 25 years. She points out that 25 years is a “cosmic blink of an eye” in life of Earth, which makes the amount of damage that has been done to the environment in that period of time all the more startling. She argues that economic advancement has come at the cost of environmental destruction. Despite this damage, May argues that governments have often been responsive to environmental concerns, enacting legislation to curb this destruction. She argues that the Kyoto Protocol is an important first step, but a number of other critical issues need to be addressed, including global poverty, a gap in North-South equity, species and ecosystems extinction, toxic pollution, and the overwhelming imperative to shift economic systems from fossil fuels.

The Kyoto Conundrum: Why Abandoning the Protocol’s Targets in Favour of a More Sustainable Plan May Be Best for Canada and the World

Joseph Doucet argues that Ottawa’s lack of clarity about post-Kyoto requirements may compromise long-term emissions reductions. He also tackles the question as to whether or not Canadian export prices to the US market will suffer because Canada ratified the Kyoto agreement and the United States did not. In this regard, Doucet argues that while the structure of Canadian exports should mitigate some of those concerns, long-term emission reductions will be compromised by Ottawa’s current plan for protecting Canadian companies.

The Kyoto Protocol: Canada’s Risky Rush to Judgement

This article, by Ross McKitrick and Randall M. Wigle, examines the federal government’s Discussion Paper on the Kyoto Protocol. The authors conclude this document offers an inadequate explanation as to how compliance under the Kyoto Protocol can be achieved.

The Morning After: Optimal Greenhouse Gas Policies for Canada’s Kyoto Obligations and Beyond

Jaccard, Rivers, and Horne argue that Canada’s current approach to meeting its Kyoto commitments is environmentally ineffective and economically inefficient. They point out that although it is not yet possible to fully assess Canada’s approach, the policies the federal government has adopted are similar to those that have failed in the past. The authors argue that the current approach, emphasizing voluntary initiatives by businesses, consumers, and municipalities, is not the best route to meeting its commitments.

The Nova Scotia GPI Solid Waste-Resource Accounts

This report by Sally Walker, Ronald Colman, Jeffrey Wilson, Anne Monette and Gay Harley looks at the solid waste disposal system in Nova Scotia. As the authors explain, Nova Scotia has been able to reduce the amount of solid waste they produce by 50% through a superior sold waste system that included recycling incentives, composting and more efficient land fills. Though the program appears to have been costly the authors argue that due to the many ways in which the program saves money on services it is may be beneficial for both the environment and the provincial budget.

The Prince Edward Island Ecological Footprint

In this report Anne Monette, Ronald Colman and Jeffrey Wilson examine sustainable development in a different way, they focus on actions of consumers rather than actions of producers. This report specifically applies to Prince Edward Island but contains information that could easily apply to the rest of Canada. Monette, Colman and Wilson point to consumers who are living beyond their means in terms of producing more than the plant can assimilate and consuming more than the planet can provide. The authors provide specific changes that consumers could make to reduce their ecological footprint on PEI as well as actions government could take to help reduce the footprint also.

The Science Isn't Settled: The Limitations of Global Climate Models

In this report, Green, examine the effectiveness of computerized models of the earth’s climate.

The State of Urban Air in Canada

This detailed study by Jeremy Brown and Milagros Palacios looks at the air quality in Canadian cities and finds the results to be contrary to the alarming reports that inspired the study. Contrary to what they expected, the authors find that from 1974 to 2001 air quality actually improved.

The Transboundary Water Resources of Canada and the United States

This report considers the impact shared freshwater resources have had on the U.S.-Canadian relationship. Strategies for maintaining a positive relationship and preserving water resources are considered.

Thinking North American Environmental Management

This article, by Scott Vaughan, is one of a set of eight folios released in 2004 to mark the 15th anniversary of the Canada-US Free Trade Agreement, and the 10th anniversary of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

To reconcile profits and environment: industrial waste recycling in a market economy

In this article Pierre Desrochers argues against the historical belief that the profit driven economy is to blame for the industrial contribution to the breakdown of the environment.

Toward an Energy Security Strategy for Canada

This paper is the result of the collaborative effort of researchers and activists from across Canada. They met to discuss energy sources in Canada and how to keep them secure. The group developed four principles to guide energy security strategies in the future. These principles include conserving non-renewable resources, collecting the maximum practicable royalties for resource extraction, ensuring environmental security and respecting the claims of First Nations to land and resources.

Toward an Energy Security Strategy for Canada

In this paper, David Thompson, Gordon Laxer and Diana Gibson provide a suggested energy security strategy and guiding principles. The authors consider it a “made in Alberta” initiative in partnership with Canadians from energy producing and energy consuming regions.

Trade and Environment in North America

This brief report serves as the introduction to Mapping the New North American Reality, a series of brief articles written by Canadian, American, and Mexican policy experts exploring the nature of North American economic integration.

Water and Wastewater Treatment in Canada: Tapping into Private-Sector Capital, Expertise, and Efficiencies

In this report, Elizabeth Brubaker argues that Canada’s wastewater treatment facilities need the private sector in order to protect the nation’s water supply and the health of Canadians.

Weathering the Political and Environmental Climate of the Kyoto Protocal

This colabrative paper explores the difficulty of implimenting policy around the Kyoto Protecal. This includes sections examining the problems green house gassescreate , climate change, health implications of these changes, potential solutions via technology and how the constituion may affect Kyoto related policies.

Western Canada's Natural Capital: Toward a New Public Policy Framework

Worbets and Berdahl argue that Western Canada possesses natural resources that greatly enhance the West’s quality of life, and thereby its position in the attraction and retention of increasingly mobile human capital.

Why Energy Efficiency?

This publication explores how Canadian business can benefit from energy efficiency, particularly in view of rising energy costs. The authors argue that energy efficiency has assumed a new importance today, and that businesses would be wise to embrace it. They highlight some businesses that are making effective use of energy efficiency strategies. The authors also examine barriers which prevent energy efficiency from receiving the attention it deserves in the business world. The authors expand on the idea of energy efficiency as a cost-saving measure; they point out that it increases energy security, while benefiting climate change and air quality. They conclude by suggesting opportunities for action for both business and government.

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