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Perspective on BC’s Carbon Tax

Excellent op-ed on BC’s carbon tax from an outstanding retired civil  servant. He emphasizes both that the tax is a strong tool, but not an end in itself, and that to continue to have the necessary impact it needs to increase – as originally intended.

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Transportation Priorities in the CRD – Duelling

A column and an article in the past week’s Time Colonist starkly contrast visions on how to address transportation challenges in the capital region. On the one hand, the provincial government is trumpeting spending $85M to build a new interchange that does nothing to address the roots of the problem, is blind to those who don’t travel in vehicles and ignores climate change. At best, it buys commuters a few years before the traffic jams settle back in place. On the other hand, the city of Victoria is spending $8M to expand cycling infrastructure with a goal of “becoming the best small cycling city in the world”. We have a long way to go – and critically need to see similar leadership from the surrounding municipalities to have a true cycling network – but it is a big step towards transforming the region and a long way from the Province’s 20th century vision of transportation = single occupancy vehicles.

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New Federal Green Funds – The Right Approach or a Waste of Money?

There’s a great deal of enthusiasm for new and expanded green government funds (see Clean Energy Canada and Campbell Clark in the Globe and Mail). However, some of the justifications are suspect. Just how is a green infrastructure fund supposed to support “inter-provincial collaboration”? And excitement around “pockets of money to aid a deal [on climate change in Canada” doesn’t provide much confidence that the money will create rather than destroy value.

As Josh Lerner points out in Boulevard of Broken Dreams, governments often love to create funds to dole out money for innovation and entrepreneurs without doing the hard work of creating the right environment for innovation to thrive. Quite simply, “capital is only one of the many requirements for innovation”, it just happens to be the one that everyone loves. There’s a risk that we take that route again in Canada: “Consider the experience of the Canadian labor fund program. Not only did it end up backing mostly incompetent groups that did little to spur entrepreneurship, but it had the effect of “crowding out” some of the most knowledgeable local investors.” Now’s the time to think and act thoughtfully on the best measures to address our critical climate change, infrastructure and yes, investment needs, but not spread the dollars around the country in the hope of having a positive impact.

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Conservatives and a Carbon Tax

While not my favourite Charles River economist largely because of his role in the Bush administration, this is an interesting perspective on how to move forward with carbon pricing in the U.S.

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The End of Car Culture – Can’t Happen Soon Enough

Great to see US car ownership, especially by young people decline. And promising to see their demand for transportation as a service rather failing prey to owning a car. Cities and their peripheries have to make that transition. With planning and incentives, megacities in emerging markets can shift off of their much less entrenched car culture.

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Nature Boosts

Gazing at nature boosts performance. Summer is a great time to do more that gaze, perhaps a bit of grazing with berries in season is in order! Further studies, I suspect, will show that the real stuff vs. a screen saver has a far stronger impact.

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La Coop Carbone conclut une première transaction pour ses clients distributeurs de carburants

Great to see the links build between the California and Quebec cap and trade programs – and to be part of Coop Carbone’s first transaction.