Not surprising: China pushes forward with carbon tax plans

China pushes forward with carbon tax plans – 21 Feb 2013 – News from BusinessGreen.

I’m not surprised, because China proves all the time that they do not suffer from political constipation. They make decisions. They move forward.

Of course, this also has its drawbacks at times (i.e. when the balance of power is negligent), but when it comes to recognizing a problem (e.g. carbon emissions, hasty resource development) they get on with solving it… rather than worrying about who gets the credit.

Carbon taxation isn’t the only measure they’ve implemented: China is also using a form of insurance to ensure heavily polluting industries adequately provide compensation for damages.

All this to say, the US and other nations on the verge of considering such measures are feeling the pressure… to not be lame laggards.

via Not surprising: China pushes forward with carbon tax plans.


Thank you Sandy. Thank you Obama. Thank you Jacobson.

I really only have gratitude at the moment. When it all sinks in, I’ll probably come up with something more profound.

Let’s be fair to those who are responsible for making Canadians happy: it isn’t easy. That is probably the extent of it… yes there are a diversity of beliefs and priorities, and sometimes they conflict. But that is what they signed up for: a difficult job, in the most difficult century we may yet know as a species.

Canada has an ally in the United States. As a trading partner, among other things. So, as we all work towards transitioning our society to be low carbon and resilient towards climate change, what happens in the US (at times) will signal eventual spillover into our communities. Not to mention the fact that the Government of Canada has been explicit in its approach to align policies and approaches to climate change mitigation with the US.

So thank you, United States of America. Thank you for making it easier for the Canadians holding the levers on climate action. Thank you for sharing your stories of tragedy in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and recognizing it as a harbinger of tribulation. Thank you for leading your citizens and hopefully the world, as you usually do, this time in a direction we desperately need to go.

And finally, thank you, US Ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson, for spelling this out to Canada. You’ve made our job easier.

Obama’s climate change challenge meant for Canada’s ears: ambassador

Heather Scoffield and Mike Blanchfield,  Wednesday, February 13, 2013 5:55 PM
U.S. ambassador to Canada David Jacobson delivers a speech on the impact of the U.S. election on Canadian-American relations, Tuesday, December 4, 2012 in Montreal. The U.S. ambassador to Canada says President Barack Obama's State of the Union message to act swiftly on climate change should be interpreted as a challenge to Ottawa as well. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

U.S. ambassador to Canada David Jacobson delivers a speech on the impact of the U.S. election on Canadian-American relations, Tuesday, December 4, 2012 in Montreal. The U.S. ambassador to Canada says President Barack Obama’s State of the Union message to act swiftly on climate change should be interpreted as a challenge to Ottawa as well. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
 OTTAWA – President Barack Obama’s State of the Union message to act swiftly on climate change should be interpreted as a challenge to Ottawa as well, says the U.S. ambassador to Canada.

Obama used Tuesday’s speech to present Congress with a choice: either agree to market-based solutions to climate change, or else the president will use his executive powers to achieve the same result.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Ambassador David Jacobson said the message to move more aggressively against climate change was meant as much for Canada as it was for the United States.

“We all need to do as much as we can. And that is true in your country and in mine,” Jacobson said.

“Obviously the more that the energy industry – whether it is the oilsands in Canada or the energy industry in the United States, or any place else – the more progress they can make to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, to reduce their consumption of water, to other environmental consequences, the better off we all are.”

Read more on Global News: Global Edmonton | Obama’s climate change challenge meant for Canada’s ears: ambassador

A broken heart: “Chasing Ice” moves climate denier to dump Bill O’Rielly

(Special thanks to Skeptical Science for posting this to Facebook and making me cry. View the post here and share.)

When someone starts a sentence with the words “I love Bill O’Rielly“, I take them quite seriously on that. Bill is a master emoter-prevoker. It is a craft: he needs no real facts to spin fear, hate and single mindedness into complaisant trust with his viewers… people long for passionate lines of thinking to align with. It makes us feel alive, especially in these times of convenient, easy living.

Life is supposed to involve a “fight.” For something. Anything.

So when this woman does a 360 on her Global Warming Deniership (yes, in capitals), I literally cried. There is nothing like a broken heart, and it is plain to see on her face and in her voice. No crafting. A genuine shock to the soul and a wake-up call: you’ve been cheated on.

Sorry, Bill. Sounds like this Chasing Ice movie is gonna get you dumped in a big way.


PS – From the creators of “The Cove” – another must watch.

Why Canadians should care about the American #CleanRevolution & help the US #Win3Trillion

Bill Pullman as the US President in the movie "Independence Day'

Bill Pullman as the US President in the movie “Independence Day’ captures the urgency and dedication to solving monumental problems that current leaders should have.

I don’t think it is terribly difficult to understand why the US should address climate change and a host of other related environmental impacts AND grow their economy by making their industries more efficient and diversified.

But here we are. Western society as it is currently designed faces serious threats on various fronts and neither US Presidential Candidate is passionately professing their commitment to softening the blow and preparing their country and the world for this pending monumental shift.

Of course this is to say nothing of our democracy loving, Canadian Government… and for this post, I will leave it that way.

Apparently, the benefits are not all that obvious to people. And I guess its not hard to see why. Americans are patriotic. Very patriotic. They pay honest respects to their founding fathers. Their dollar is the world standard. They are home of the iPhone and a whole lot more readily commercialized and globalized products and iconography… why change all that?

Surely they must be doing something right?

Of course they are. And one effective approach to adapting to a changing world is to do what American’s have excelled at: to encourage the entrepreneurial and innovative talents.

That is the aim of a newly launched campaign called the American Clean Revolution. Essentially:

A ‘clean revolution’ is about what America has always done best – innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship.
It will enhance our national and energy security, future-proof our infrastructure and boost our economy.
The cost of not embracing this way forward? $3 trillion. To play to win, the American Clean Revolution is the only way forward.

As someone that communicates on climate change, I’ve found the messaging a bit hard to take as a Canadian. Maybe I’m too polite. I like collaboration more than competition. Whatever it is, “playing to win” doesn’t really resonate with me. But I can see how it would trigger patriotic sense in the American heart.

That said, as a Canadian, I still know that in some ways if America wins we all do. It is kind of a super big economy (and Canada’s largest trading partner). You turn that massive, sandbar in the arctic destined ship, you save the fleet of us (i.e. force other governments to adjust their courses as well).

American Clean Revolution button Heather Bauer

You can make a fancy button or banner too! (Come on… don’t let me be the only crazy Canuck slapping my mug on a red, white and blue button!)

For more details on how this ship might turn, check out the report:

The report explains why the US must embrace a Clean Revolution – a swift, massive transformation of the economy powered by clean, plentiful, affordable energy – to generate growth, create prosperity and secure sustainability. And if that wasn’t commonsense reasons enough, the report also confirms that not embracing an American Clean Revolution could cost the US $3 trillion.

Interesting way to pitch avoided losses. I really hope it helps people in the US to understand and mobilize…

So, my fellow Canadians, here is an opportunity to say “we’re rooting for you America!” Join me? Or, share your thoughts otherwise below!


Was Ottawa built upon “Mount Stupid?” Conservative banter about the #carbontax suggests true geography of Parliament Hill

You’d think that, coming from a bloodline that includes the likes of one of the greatest Canadians of all time, I might have a little more respect for our capital and the important work that is supposed to happen there. Regardless of my patriotic ties, I’m kind of ashamed to be Canadian at the moment.

My friend and colleague that specializes in carbon taxation, particularly with relevance to British Columbia, is frankly beside herself. While I’ve had my head buried in numerous other projects, she’s been agape over the “silliness” unfolding in our Canadian Parliament regarding carbon taxation. As per twitter, people are now playing drinking games over the number of times “carbon tax” is mentioned/slandered in question and answer period.

To sum up the written lines Harper has been feeding to our MPs, I’ll quote him:

“Canadians and people across the globe know, we have a government smart enough to reject dumb ideas like a $20 billion carbon tax.” (I’ll get back to deciphering the importance of this phrasing in a moment.)

In BC, we have a carbon tax. It has done nothing of the sort. In fact, BC’s population has gone up. BC’s GDP growth outpaced the Canadian average. And fuel use and carbon emissions during the same period have gone down. And by the way, BC is IN CANADA. (Read the full “Progress to Targets” Report. You’ll like it. Lots of colours.) Some even call it “The Most Sensible Tax of All”… and really smart economic minds agree with that statement. Enough with the gloating…

So what is this silliness happening on Parliament Hill?

@aaronwherry wrote a great article in Maclean’s summarizing what appears to be a rash of clamouring to the top of Mount Stupid:

Mount stupid

Mount Stupid. I’m sure we’ve all been there. I know I have. But maybe we can expect a little better from our “leaders?”

Yes. I am suggesting that the really smart people we have elected may be stuck in this place where they think they know just enough to know it all, giving them gumption to speak loudly about it.

MPs are suggesting (under Harper’s firm guidance, of course) that a carbon tax of any kind is dangerous nonsense and should be avoided at all costs. They are repeating this message at every prompt from the opposition, whether it is relevant or not.  They’re simply taking a page out of psychological advertising tactics (the mere-exposure effect, to be exact) book of corruption.

I say may, because there may be more to it. Harper’s statement, though seemingly directed at the NDP, may be strategically pointed to the South. You see, right now in the US, there is a coalition building in an unsuspected place: with Republicans. This short video spells it out much more effectively than I can:

What you may not know, is that BC is being looked at closely by policy makers in the US as an example of successful deployment of a revenue neutral carbon tax. Just sayin’.

Essentially, what we have is a Canadian Government that has repeated numerous times (I worked in intergovernmental relations at the time it was most in vogue… I almost want to throw up preparing to type this…) that the Canadian Government will align its climate policies with our largest and most important trading partner, the United States of America. A strategic and seemingly effective economic strategy, to be sure.

But Harper may as well be drinking oil for breakfast. And I’ll give the guy a small break: he cares about the prosperity of Canadians (mostly the already rich ones), and deterring the production and/or sale of a major commodity (which is what taxes can do) doesn’t feel right to him.

So do the math. Any stirrings of “Carbon Tax” in the US, are to be fretted about… but not directly. That would be rude. And Harper, I assume, wants to maintain some appearance of being Canadian. Instead, he is causing a stir in Canada, home of an existing carbon tax that is working… and making it seem like there’s no way in hell that could actually be the case.

“Canadians and people across the globe know, we have a government smart enough to reject dumb ideas like a $20 billion carbon tax.” – Harper

This silliness as my friend calls it, could very well be strategic silliness… directed at people outside of Canada. Regardless, it is backfiring because the knowing Canadians that DON’T live on Mount Stupid are reacting and speaking up:

We know in BC, that carbon pricing is an essential tool in the fight against climate change… but can only be bolstered and sustained at effective $100+/tonne levels if other jurisdictions get on board. Staying at $30/tonne will surely buy us 6+ degrees of warming and associated human civilization destruction.

But I digress. Kind of.

Thank you to my social media shy friend, who shall remain nameless, for bringing this to my attention and providing some excellent links. And thank you to those authors and contributors fighting for truth.

And finally, I leave you with a song – a musical tribute if you will – to our friends on “Mount Stupid”.

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