Posted: August 13th, 2012 | Author: James Glave | Filed under: Cities, Energy, Fossil Fuel, Global Warming, Government | No Comments »
How would you spend $125 million to make your community stronger, healthier, and more prosperous and liveable? That’s the question the new Better Future Fund project asks.
The project is a collaboration between Clean Energy Canada at Tides Canada (where I work), the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association, and the David Suzuki Foundation. It’s an experiment to engage British Columbians on the carbon tax review. It’s based on the idea that British Columbia’s carbon tax is a good policy that is working as designed — it is starting to reduce fossil fuel use in the province. But it could be made stronger.
How so? As the policy is currently designed, so-called “process” and “fugitive” emissions are not subject to the carbon tax. This is climate pollution that is leaked or released into the atmosphere when fossil fuels like natural gas are processed and transported, or as a byproduct of certain industrial processes.
If industry took responsibility for these emissions and paid the carbon tax on them, the province would have another $125 million in public coffers. Local B.C. communities could theoretically access these funds to secure a stronger future. Bike lanes? Neighbourhood heating systems? Energy retrofits for homes and schools? You name it.
Our team calls this hypothetical “green fund” the Better Future Fund.
So how about it? How would you invest $125 million? Swing on over to the site, it uses a cool SayZu word cloud to display all of the suggestions for how the money that is currently left on the table might best be invested to fight climate change and help secure a better future for British Columbians.
And ps while you’re there, be sure to use the form provided to send a quick email to the finance minister. He wants to know what you think of the carbon tax. He needs to hear from those who support the policy before August 31, when the current review of the policy, now underway, wraps up.
Posted: June 17th, 2011 | Author: James Glave | Filed under: Energy, Government | Tags: B.C., clean tech, green economy | No Comments »
How about a Clean Tech stimulus package?
It’s great that Premier Christy Clark recently reaffirmed our province’s commitment to the Western Climate Initiative and the Carbon Tax. They’re good policies and we need to stick with them. Unfortunately, they do not appear to be part of a bigger vision for transforming this province’s economy away from its growing dependence on natural gas extraction and processing.
In a recent Vancouver Sun story, the premier underscored how the sector is pretty much keeping the lights on in our emergency rooms:
Every heart operation in this province is paid for by oil and gas out of the northeast …. Boy, you want a health care system, you better be damn happy we’re getting oil and gas out of the northeast, because that’s what’s paying for it.
Thanks to a variety of royalty-based incentives and regulatory changes wrapped up as the 2009 Oil and Gas Stimulus Program, the sector is booming. According to the Budget and Fiscal Plan – 2010/11 to 2012/11, the province expects natural gas royalties will soar from $698 Million this year to a forecast $1.2 Billion by 2012/2013 (see page 12).
And there’s more where that came from. According to a recent report by the National Energy Board and B.C. Ministry of Energy and Mines, the northeast potentially contains 78 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, enough to fuel Canada’s entire existing needs for 26 years. (Don’t hold your breath hoping for “peak gas” to kick in anytime soon.)
What does this mean for our climate leadership? Well, a 2010 analysis by Mark Jaccard concluded that completion of just one of the natural gas processing plants in the region would blow away any chance we have of reaching our climate-pollution goals. So much for keeping your car tires properly inflated.
The Premier is has a point, though. The public revenue has to come from somewhere. What’s the alternative? Well, I look to the province’s thriving clean tech sector.
The KPMG B.C. Clean Tech Report Card, commissioned by the British Columbia Cleantech CEO Alliance and released this week, notes that the province has one of the most vibrant cleantech clusters in North America. We have more than 200 “pure play” technology companies, employing over 8,000 people and generating $2.5 billion in revenues annually, primarily from exports. These are companies involved solely in the research, development or deployment of technological innovations in energy generation, energy transmission and storage, energy use in transportation, energy efficiency, and resource management.
Many of BC’s cleantech companies are recognized international leaders, competing for and winning business around the world. It’s also a very young, fast growing sector – over two-thirds of the companies did not exist ten years ago.
With the right policies, B.C. could be the silicon valley of clean-tech. The report recommends a number of options for government.
The role of government in supporting and encouraging emerging cleantech clusters cannot be understated. Programs such as Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credits, Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), the federal Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP) and Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund and the revenue neutral Carbon Tax have provided welcome support for the industry; however, there is more to be done to improve BC’s competitiveness as a destination for cleantech businesses and capital.
Pssst…. Christy: Fracking isn’t our future. Families and investors alike are very keen to transition B.C. into a green economy. Where’s the stimulus program for that?
Posted: May 23rd, 2011 | Author: James Glave | Filed under: Almost Green, Energy, Fossil Fuel, Global Warming, Media, Renewable Energy | No Comments »
I’m looking forward to catching the Vancouver premier of Powerful: Energy for Everyone, a new documentary about our dysfunctional global energy system, and how we might fix it. Filmmaker David Chernushenko promises to “tackle the spin of the big energy lobby and dispel the myths of a ‘green utopia’ envisioned by many.” The film is billed as a candid examination of what a sustainable future may actually look like. It’s Friday afternoon at SFU Woodwards, part of the Projecting Change Film Festival. A clip from the film appears below.
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Posted: August 9th, 2010 | Author: James Glave | Filed under: About Me, Energy, Fossil Fuel, Global Warming, Renewable Energy | 5 Comments »
I am delighted to let you all know that I have accepted a full-time position with Tides Canada, a national foundation tackling a wide range of social and ecological challenges. To quote our boilerplate, “we pool the best ideas, strategies, people, and capital to achieve the greatest impacts on the key environmental and social issues of our time.”
In my case, the issue in question is climate, and the solution is energy. I’ll be working with the gifted Merran Smith—the former climate director of ForestEthics—on the recently established Tides Canada Energy Initiative. My role in part is to support, advance, and help host productive conversations around low-carbon energy, to diversify Canada’s energy system and advance climate solutions.
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