100 Debates About the Environment

Forest

Canadians are heading to the polls this year to elect a new federal government and GreenPAC wants everyone in Canada to engage in a debate about the state of our environment. On October 7th, 2019 they’re running non-partisan all-candidates debates in 100 ridings across Canada from St. John’s to Victoria. If you care about Canadian politics and the environment then please considering helping organize one of the debates. T

This election we’re holding 100 debates to make sure the environment is the issue everyone’s talking about. We need all the help we can get to pull it off.

If you’ve got a bit of time and energy, and are passionate about the environment, use the form on the right to get involved.

We need committed people in many different fields: organizers, videographers, photographers, social media experts, canvassers and much more. Join us and help supercharge our project

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How to Avoid and Economic Crisis while Addressing the Climate Crisis

The impacts of the climate crisis increase in reach and damage every year with more people feeling the consequences. People have finally woken up to the fact that we need to act now to curb more climate chaos, the problem is that economists might figure that out too. Properties built on flood plains or other vulnerable areas are going to lose their value as global warming increases and that can spiral countries into recessions. In some parts of the USA politicians are planning ahead to navigate the troubled waters of the combined effects of climate and economic chaos.

If you want to address this today: ask the company you work for what their business plan is for a planet two degrees warmer than it is today.

A 2014 report from Arizona State University estimated that one year without water from the river could cause US$1.4 trillion in economic losses and impact 16 million jobs across the region. If calculations were done again today, those estimates of damage “would definitely be bigger,” says Timothy James, a co-author of the report.

The technical fixes are easiest to predict: more water-efficient technologies and policies like higher prices on water to encourage their adoption. But adapting to climate change also requires hard decisions about the pace and scale of development. It could mean refraining from building new communities in the desert altogether. At the moment, however, Phoenix is growing rapidly.

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Christiana Figueres: The Climate Risk Reward Ratio has Changed

The architect of the Paris Agreement, Christiana Figueres, is optimistic about the future of the planet and she sees the technology sector key in moving our economy to a carbon neutral system. She sees the exponential growth in the technology sector and argues that we need that sector’s help to manage “exponential growth in sustainable solutions”. Indeed, she claimed that “the tech sector is the portal to solving climate change” at a press conference at Collision Conference.

I doubt any parent alive today wants to be blamed for the environmental problems their children will face. – Figueres

Technology

We can’t have technology growing for growth’s sake. -Figueres

As she sees it, we are in a race between two exponential curves: sustainable tech growth and climate change. Her hope is that the tech sector can help move the economy away from fossil fuels. We need to decarbonize the economy as fast as possible.

Companies are starting to note that our climate crisis greatly endangers their future business plans.

Transportation

We are killing 7 million people per year because of air pollution that is entirely avoidable if we move to electric mobility. -Figueres

The economy is slowly moving away from fossil fuels, but this needs to happen faster. The risks are too great to continue our slow progress. She even notes that all the major automakers are moving to all electric – even Harley Davidson.

Cities need to regulate the types of cars and busses allowed in their borders so citizens are dangerously exposed to pollution. We have the knowledge, we just need the policies.

Housing

More corporations understanding that its in their own interest to decarbonize. -Figueres

We need purposeful growth and millennials get that, and that’s true when it comes to housing. Figueres envisions a short term goal of retrofitting existing buildings. She wonders why aren’t people retrofitting their buildings since insulation of homes is important to reducing energy combustion.

Figueres calls for policy makers to demand that new buildings power themselves and contribute to a healthier city. Again, we have the technology, we have the knowledge, we just need the policies.

How one Political Party Mocked Pro Global Warming Government

climate action

The current “conservative” government in Ontario hates the environment so much that they keep producing policies to increase Canada’s carbon output. Indeed, they’ve made it mandatory for gas stations to post stickers fighting a federal carbon tax. There are legal challenges underway already to this sticky waste of money by free speech advocates. While the courts might be slow the Ontario Green Party is moving fast – they’ve published stickers outlining how not taking climate action will cost us.

Gas station companies that fail to post the government’s sticker on the pumps could face fines of up to $10,000 a day, under new legislation the Progressive Conservatives call the Federal Carbon Tax Transparency Act.

Green Leader Mike Schreiner said his stickers will be offered free to gas stations who want to display them alongside what he calls “the propaganda stickers being forced on them by Ford.”


The Green Party sticker lists bullet points on the potential effects of climate change “if we don’t act now,” including worsening extreme weather events and an annual cost of $91 billion by 2050.

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Find out more at ClimateCosts.ca.

British Columbia’s Carbon Pricing Works Well

carbon output

British Columbia shows carbon pricing works while another province looks uselessly backwards.

The regressive and antidemocratic Ontario “conservative” government is set to sue the Canadian government for protecting the environment. The argument by the Conservatives is basically that an economy allowed to inefficiently consume non-renewable resources is good and that sustainable policy (carbon pricing) is bad. Yes, it’s as ludicrous as it sounds.

Hopefully this wasteful battle between governments ends in the environment’s favour. If Ontario just followed British Columbia’s lead this wouldn’t be an issue and arguably the economy would be in better shape. In B.C. the carbon pricing has reduced emissions while making a more energy efficient economy. Sustainable businesses are seeing growth in B.C. that they wouldn’t see elsewhere.

“This carbon tax is a model for the world that well-designed carbon pricing can be good for the environment and the economy. In the 11 years since B.C. brought in its carbon tax, it’s outpaced the rest of Canada both on emission reduction and GDP growth,” said Stewart Elgie, a professor of law and economics at the University of Ottawa.

In the meantime, numerous researchers have tried to determine the impact of the tax. According to a 2015 paper, B.C.’s emissions had dropped by between five and 15 per cent since the tax was implemented, and it had a “negligible impact” on the overall economy.

Elgie, of the University of Ottawa, was part of a wide-ranging 2013 study that showed a 19 per cent drop in B.C.’s per capita fuel consumption in the first four years of the tax, while the province’s economy slightly outperformed the rest of the country.

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