Squaring the Carbon Circle

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Both advanced and emerging markets are moving inexorably towards a low-carbon future. Yet Canada has no coherent strategy to reduce carbon consumption.

It is time for a change.

Canada urgently needs a meaningful national carbon strategy that will reduce our emissions and provide the certainty that businesses and individuals require for effective future planning.

and issues

Opinion: Un geste significatif

En annonçant hier un plan de lutte sérieux contre les changements climatiques, le président américain Obama a posé l’un des gestes les plus significatifs de sa présidence. L’objectif annoncé par l’Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) de réduire de 30% d’ici 2030 les émissions de carbone par rapport à celles de 2005 représente le plus grand effort jamais entrepris par le gouvernement américain de s’attaquer aux changements climatiques. Si le plan est mis en oeuvre, cela impliquera une réduction de 500 millions de tonnes métriques de carbone annuellement.

Speech: Brian Mulroney on “The Next Big Thing” for Canada

On April 8th, 2014, Canada 2020 invited the Right Honourable Brian Mulroney, Canada’s 18th Prime Minister, to answer the question: “What is the next big thing for Canada?” His speech focused on the importance of natural resource development, and stressed the importance of bold leadership that places national interest ahead of electoral success – something Mr. Mulroney knows quite a bit about. Click here to read his address, as well as stream video of the speech.

Research: How Canadians (vs. Americans) feel about climate change

Researchers from Canada and the United States have partnered with Canada 2020 to publish their key findings from the Canada-US Comparative Climate Survey, conducted in the fall of 2013. This report delves deeper into the data, analyzing key trends and preferences across a variety of indicators including region, partisan divide, and others. For interactive maps and other data, visit www.canada2020backup.see-design.com/climatepoll

Graphics: How Canadians really feel about climate change

Canada 2020 and the University of Montreal have released a new survey showing Canadians are more concerned, more informed, more willing to pay, and more demanding of federal action on climate change than Americans. The full survey, interactive maps, and other resources are posted at www.canada2020backup.see-design.com/climatepoll. In this post, we have selected some of the more surprising results.

Getting beyond the carbon impasse: response to the Financial Post

Earlier this month a response to our paper ‘Why would Canadians buy carbon pricing?’ was published in the Financial Post. The over-riding objective of our paper, and packed event which it supported, was to ‘identify a refreshed mode of discussion… [in order to]… develop a constructive and positive course of action’ to address climate change.

Event Summary: Recasting the carbon debate in Ottawa

This past Wednesday, over 500 people packed the Chateau Laurier’s ballroom, and hundreds tuned in online to watch ‘How to sell carbon pricing to Canadians’ – our call to re-cast the carbon pricing conversation in Canada. It was, by all measures, our largest event to date.

Opinion: How to talk about a carbon price – without panicking

A more active dialogue is developing around Canada’s future as a large-scale energy exporter – with much of the open, constructive debate happening beyond our borders and not at home where it is most needed. Blame for inaction lies at the feet of all federal parties: quite simply, now is the time to move on.

Opinion: Climate change impacts on Canadian agriculture – no time for complacency

There is much to applaud in the agri-sector. We’re seeing greater diversification and a change in farming practices to become less environmentally damaging. But we need to ask ourselves if there is more we can do, both to maximize the potential of the sector and to help it prepare for a very uncertain future.

Blog: The carbon conversation we’re ready to have

Carbon pricing was eviscerated in 2006, and has been portrayed as scorched earth ever since – a dead policy from a dead party leading to a dead end. But it’s not, really. Industry is ready to talk about it. The federal government is not – and that’s a problem.

Green vs. Growth: the false dichotomy

Earlier this month the UK’s Confederation of British Industry (CBI: the UK’s top business lobbying organization) released a report entitled …

Record breaking temperatures in Ottawa as panelists discuss ways to curb carbon emissions

Ottawa – Canada needs a comprehensive strategy for reducing carbon emissions but there is no clear consensus on how to …

Opinion: Eugene Lang asks why the timing is never right for action on climate

Ten years ago, a very senior federal deputy minister told me that implementing Canada’s Kyoto Protocol target to reduce our …

Opinion: Ian Mallory’s proposals for helping the environment without hurting the economy

As the world struggles to restrict carbon emissions into the atmosphere, Canada stands out. Although many countries emit larger absolute …

Issues: Carbon and Energy

Canada is one of the highest per capita carbon dioxide emitters in the world. We are likely to increase, significantly, …


June 17, 2014

Canada 2020 Panel: Innovation in the Canadian Energy Sector

Speakers: Dan Wicklum, Elyse Allan, Jim Balsillie, Paul Waldie, Tom Rand

March 25, 2014

The Future of North American Energy with Daniel Yergin and Jim Prentice

Speakers: Dr. Daniel Yergin, Hon. Jim Prentice P.C., Q.C.

March 6, 2014

The Global Clean Energy Boom: Can Canada Compete?

Speakers: Ethan Zindler

November 6, 2013

The politics of climate, and the climate of politics

Speakers: Chris Borick, David Jacobson, David McLaughlin, Diana Carney, Erick Lachapelle, Scott Vaughan

April 17, 2013

The Canada We Want in 2020 Speaker Series: How to sell carbon pricing to Canadians

Speakers: Bob Inglis, Don Newman, Elizabeth May, M.P., Eric Newell, Kathryn Harrison, The Hon. Jean Charest, P.C.

Carbon panelists - Mar 19
March 19, 2012

The Canada We Want in 2020: Squaring the Carbon Circle

Speakers: Alex Wood, Ian Mallory, Joe Aldy, Lorraine Mitchelmore, Stewart Elgie

Canada 2020 Craig Alexander, Senior VP & Chief Economist, TD Bank Financial GroupDerek Burney, OC, LLD, Senior Strategic Advisor, Norton Rose LLPHon. John Manley, PC, President & CEO, Canadian Council of Chief ExecutivesJayson Myers, President & CEO, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters
June 22, 2011

PowerTalk Symposium

Speakers: Derek Burney, Hon. John Manley, P.C., Jayson Myers, Pierre Guimond

July 13, 2008

Lunch with noted economist Tom Courchene

Speakers: Avrim Lazar, Hon. Anne McLellan, P.C.

Featured Links

Hilary Clinton: North America can lead on clean energy

​”Of course we’re going to continue using fossil fuels, but I think we should set the global example for transitioning …

Canada has the top 3 resilient cities in the world: Fast Company

Canada has the top 3 resilient cities in the world according to Fast Company. Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary are some …

How Obama Shocked Harper as Keystone’s Frustrator-in-Chief

Bloomberg News has an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the recent (un)development in the Keystone XL saga. Read it here.

A path forward on responsible resource development

An impressive slate of Canadian energy, environment and aboriginal experts met 5 times last year to discuss energy development in …

Diana Carney: the next agriculture innovation

Diana Carney writes about the innovation challenges facing global agriculture. Read her commentary on the CIC’s website here.

Shell to Ottawa: Release a carbon policy

Shell’s top Canadian Executive, and former Canada 2020 speaker, has called on Ottawa to release a coherent carbon policy. Shawn …

Brookings on COP 19: “Grey skies in Warsaw”

The Brookings Institution has a great summary of what’s been happening at the UNFCCC COP 19 in Warsaw, Poland. Read …

U.S. to lead world in oil production by 2015

The IEA projects the expansion of unconventional crude will diminish the dominance of Middle East oil production. Read the Globe’s …

How our values affect what we believe should be done about climate change

Maggie Koerth-Baker details why it is so important to be honest about the way our values impact our views on …

4 ways to manage the Energy East ‘game changer’

David McLaughlin from the Canada 2020 Research Advisory Board offers insight into the ‘game changing’ Energy East pipeline, announced this …

Climate Change Financing: The Emperor’s New Clothes

CIGI has posted a new report detailing the key players, facts, funds and myths about climate financing. Read it here.

B.C.’s carbon tax an environmental (and economic) success: new report

Sustainable Prosperity has released a new report that says British Columbia’s carbon tax has been a success, with fossil fuel …

Premiers should talk about the weather

Canada 2020 Research Adviser David McLaughlin says Premier Kathleen Wynne should use her role as Chair of the upcoming Council …

MEP’s move to fix EU carbon market praised

The UK government and various ENGOs have praised the move to reform the EU’s carbon trading market. Read about it …

B.C. introduces carbon program for private sector

Wendy Stueck of the G&M debates the merits of the new B.C. Forest Carbon Partnership Program. Is this a viable …

President Obama’s plan to fight climate change

The White House has released a new plan to combat climate change. Visit their website and peruse the slick infographics.

Obama Climate Change Speech

President Obama to deliver an important speech on his climate change action plan on Tuesday June 25th. Read advance analysis …

Building climate consesus in Tory Britain

From the Guardian, a new U.K. body is taking aim at building consensus for climate change in Tory Britain.

B.C.’s carbon tax is driving down emissions

British Columbians thirst for gasoline has dropped 7.7% since its 2004 peek, as reported in the Vancouver Sun.

Should we sacrifice the environment or the economy? Neither

Munir Sheikh, former chief statistician at Statistics Canada, argues that pitting the environment against the economy creates a false dichotomy. Read …

U.S. Congressional Budget Office Report on Carbon Taxes

The United States Congress Budget Office has released a new report on a carbon taxes’ impact on the American environment …

Hot in my backyard – This American Life

Previous Canada 2020 panelist, former Republican Congressman Bob Inglis is interviewed in last week’s This American Life episode. Inglis discusses his …

Pragmatic conservatives missing in the climate change debate

Christopher Ragan speaks to the importance of having an “adult” conversation, that includes large and small C conservatives, on carbon …

Why we are failing to address climate chaos

Martin Wolf writes in the Financial Times about the many reasons we seem unable to respond to the threat of …

An open letter to Minister Joe Oliver

Climate scientists, policy experts and economists have written an open letter to Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver, expressing concern over …

Unburnable carbon 2013

A new report from Carbon Tracker and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE has revealed …

What does ‘halfway’ mean?

When it comes to meeting Canada’s Copenhagen targets, apparently not that much, according to a new blog by Pembina.

Europe is becoming a green-energy basket case

The Washington Post Editorial Board takes stock of energy policy in the EU and calls for a simple and predictable carbon …

How to Put America Back Together Again

A compelling case by Thomas Friedman on how a carbon tax can boost the economy and society.

California and Quebec tie their carbon future together

Canada 2020 panelist, Jean Charest, writes in the Globe and Mail about the need to address carbon emissions and the …

Oilsands emissions on the rise

While Canada’s overall emissions start to level off, according to new government report.

US and China sign agreement on climate change

Citing overwhelming scientific consensus as the basis for a ‘call to action’ on climate change, the world’s two largest emitters …

Why carbon markets are failing

Steffen Böhm discusses the problems with the European ETS and urges policy makers not to waste time in seeking a …

What’s behind Alberta’s proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40%?

The Current discusses the driving forces behind Alberta’s proposal to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Listen to the podcast here.

Brookings report on approaches to breaking the climate impasse

With 2015 – when a new international climate deal should be approved – approaching, the authors of the report propose …

Aberta pushes the envelope on carbon

Alex Wood of Sustainable Prosperity analyses the Alberta government’s musings on a 40/40 carbon plan and finds grounds for optimism.

Financial Risk in Climate Change

Jason Thistlethwaite and David Welch ask what is the relationship between financial risk and climate change? Watch or listen to …

Pembina calls for significant tightening of oil sands regulation

Drawing on a new report, Clare Demerse of Pembina argues in iPolitics that soon-to-be-announced oil sands regulation must be strong …

Asia’s green energy future

Amory Lovins details the shift towards green energy that is taking place in Japan, China and India.

Canada’s stock of renewables far exceeds current demand

A new report provides and inventory of renewable energy sources and stresses the need for an integrated energy systems approach.

US opinions on climate change adaptation

In a March survey, an overwhelming number of Americans agreed that climate change was happening and emphasized the importance of …

IMF report on the importance of removing energy subsidies

In a report out this week the IMF discusses the economic and environmental benefits of removing energy sector subsidies, globally.

Gloria Galloway fact checks Canada’s progress on Copenhagen carbon targets

We are not doing nearly as well as the government would like us to think and, if you are wondering …

Alberta and Canada must work together on emission reductions

David McLaughlin laments the lack of a productive conversation on climate burden sharing in Canada in today’s Globe and Mail.

Looking at the budget through the clean tech lens

A great analysis by Analytica Advisers of what the real challenges are in harnessing the strengths of innovative, non resource-based …

Do we really need all those fossil fuels?

Maybe not, says Elisabeth Rosenthal in the New York Times. There is a lot American can do to improve its energy …

Wrong turns on the environment

Chantal Hébert laments the Harper government’s failure to orient Canada towards a more sustainable future (and better economic opportunities).

Friedman: Carbon tax a “Win-Win-Win-Win-Win”

Thomas Friedman in Sunday’s New York Times says a carbon tax is a much better way to go than a …

The Tax Favored By Most Economists

The Brookings Institution explores why a carbon tax makes economic sense and  how it can tackles several public policy issues …

The Washington Post editorial board extols the merits of carbon taxation

Drawing on Brookings Institution work, the POst asks if the current financial crisis provides an opportunity for Democrats and Republicans …

Shadow Carbon Pricing in the Canadian Energy Sector

Sustainable Prosperity publishes a new report on how Canadian companies are using shadow carbon pricing. Read it here.

Another nail in the coffin for CCS

A second carbon capture project in Alberta is abandoned. Alberta’s CCS costings – and thus carbon reduction targets – were …

New IISD Policy Brief on Canada’s carbon policy

This brief provides an update on where we are and points to important trends and policy recommendations for the future.

Carbon pricing incentives compared across jurisdictions

The Pembina Institute releases a new report Carbon Pricing Approaches in oil and gas producing jurisdictions comparing carbon pricing systems here …

B.C.’s carbon tax and the dog that didn’t bark

Alex Wood of Sustainable Prosperity discusses the B.C. carbon tax which has survived this week’s provincial budget. Read it here.

Success of Northeast Regional Cap-and-Trade System Shows Market-Based Climate Policy Is Well Within Reach

The Center for American Progress analyzes the impact of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Read it here.

Kelly McParland: ‘Stars align’ behind Alberta carbon tax

From Full Comment, Kelly McParland details some of the success-drivers behind Alberta’s carbon tax. Read it here.

Obama’s options on climate change

David Leonhardt of the New York Times analyses the choices facing the president and argues that the reason we need …

First the U.S., now Alberta

Is a carbon tax the best way to raise revenues for cash-strapped governments? Maybe.

Why Canada’s oil industry supports carbon pricing

Bloomberg Businessweek offers two explanations: fear of being shut out of overseas markets and the need for certainty.

A low-carbon scenario for Canada

The Trottier Energy Futures project has unveiled national scenarios for 8 developed countries, reducing emissions by as much as 80% …

The climate change in the American mind: Report

The George Mason University has released The Climate Change in the American Mind – a 2012 survey on climate change …

The Star: Year in environmental policy 2012

The Toronto Star chronicles 2012′s year in environmental policy, and the bleak progress made.

A carbon tax in Ireland has reduced emissions and raised revenue

Ireland’s carbon pricing appears to have succeeded on many fronts. Could the US use a similar tax to raise revenue?

California’s climate-change experiment

On January 1 2013, California will put a price on carbon emissions. It’s approach may be flawed but it is …

Public support for carbon pricing is rising

The Vancouver Sun reports recent polling data on the day that Canada’s withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol became official.

CCS and shifting the climate debate

Special to the Guardian, Myles Allen explains why CCS offers real, longer term prospects on climate change.

Brookings primer on the Doha climate talks

If you want a quick briefing, have a look here. If you want a bottom-line assessment of progress on carbon, …

Summit on the economics of carbon taxes

Watch the videos of a high-level summit on carbon pricing featuring, amongst others, former C2020 speaker, Joe Aldy.

Brookings presents the many benefits of a modest carbon tax

In a new paper the Brookings Institute calls for a $20/tonne (and rising) carbon tax to curb emissions, improve the …

Could a carbon tax help solve the fiscal cliff problem?

A number of groups from all sides of the spectrum have been musing about this possibility, the Washington Post reports.

Here’s more about the economics of CCS

This blog post by the U of A’s Andrew Leach from 2011 lays down the four ‘hard truths’ about CCS.

Carbon capture and sequestration

Notes on an interesting workshop. Bottom line: it’s possible (Norway has led the pack)  but very expensive.

Suncor Energy releases its 2012 Climate Change Action Plan

Suncor Energy – the Canadian energy giant – has released a Climate Change Action Plan as part of its 2012 …

Thinking about the environmental possibilities in the CNOOC/Nexen deal

Clare Demerse from Pembina urges consideration of environmental “net benefit”.

European Union ETS cuts carbon emissions

The Environmental Defense Fund issues a new report on the success of the European Emissions Trading Scheme.

Norway increases its carbon tax

Norway’s carbon tax on domestic production will almost double (from about $35/tonne to $70) in line with the country’s ambitious …

The 9 habits of highly effective resource economies

The Canadian International Council has released a new report detailing the 9 habits of a highly effective resource economy. Read …

Ontario extends oil sands olive branch to Alberta

Ontario Energy Minister Dwight Duncan has reached out to the Alberta provincial government after previously controversial comments about development of …

Canada 2020 author, Lorraine Mitchelmore of Shell Canada, renews her call for a price on carbon

Speaking shortly after the announcement of Shell’s new Quest CCS project, the company’s Canadian President stresses the importance of carbon …

New coal fired regulations favour older, dirtier generation

In an iPolitics opinion piece, Bud Sambasivan critiques the government’s new coal-fired power generation regulations.

Canada’s new regulations for coal fired generation released

Minister Kent releases new standards. The Pembina Institute criticizes the pace of change and the missed opportunities to curb carbon …

Shell’s Quest carbon capture project launches

The economics of carbon capture and sequestration remain challenging, but Shell is moving ahead with support from the federal and …

Rubin: Northern Gateway the right idea in the wrong place

Jeff Rubin, author and former chief economic of CIBC World Markets, says the Northern Gateway pipeline is the right idea …

Is Canada an energy superpower?

A new Mowat Centre report from the University of Toronto questions Canada’s claim to being an energy superpower. Barrie McKenna …

MIT report discusses whether a carbon tax might help the US avert its fiscal cliff

The authors conclude that a carbon tax would be an economically efficient way of raising revenues. A modest tax would …

Alberta toughening carbon rules; feds lagging behind

The province of Alberta is looking to toughen its carbon rules for major emitters, just as the federal government mulls …

What is a national energy strategy anyway?

Dr. Joseph Arvai explains in today’s Globe & Mail.

Canadian energy policy needs everyone at the table

Ahead of this week’s First Ministers’ meeting, the Globe Editorial board supports a national energy strategy for all.

Red chamber pushes national energy strategy

The Senate of Canada has published a report recommending a national energy strategy. Read the full report here, and a …

Canada Bottom of the Barrel on Energy Efficiency: ACEEE

American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy ranks Canada 11th for energy efficiency among 12 major national economies.

Confederation of British Industry warns of the false choice between `green’ or `growth’

A new CBI report, The Colour of Growth: Maximising the Potential of Green Business, calls for a smarter, more consistent …

Australia’s carbon tax comes into effect

Only 300 businesses will be liable in the first tranche. The price is $23/tonne. Controversy rages, according to the ABC.

More details on the US-Canada clean energy dialogue

Action plan II details are available here.

Pembina releases a study on the BC carbon tax

In advance of the official review that is presently taking place, Pembina explores perspectives on BC’s carbon tax.

Canadian energy strategy: the challenge of integrating climate change

Matthew Paterson asks why climate change policy isn’t part of our energy strategy.

Is a national energy plan achievable?

John Ibbitson writes in the Globe and Mail about provincial premiers’ efforts to devise a national energy plan, against the …

National leaders unanimous in their inaction on climate change

Andrew Coyne writes that every party agrees there’s a problem on climate change, but no party is doing anything about …

Federal leadership required on emissions reduction

Bud Sambasivam looks beyond provincial efforts to reduce carbon.

The US clean tech boom is faltering

Most technologies still rely on subsidy: but subsidies are being withdrawn. This new report analyses what needs to happen to …

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