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Canada, and not just Mexico, may be in for a rough ride when it renegotiates NAFTA with the United States. When it comes to fighting climate change, however, the ride will be rougher. Trade provisions will likely continue to be a stumbling block in any efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
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It's estimated that about 18 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions in Canada come from the cars we drive and how we drive them. With almost one-fifth of greenhouse gas emissions coming from our cars, there's a lot we can do to drive change and minimize our impact on the environment as motorists.
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Found in a wealthy, heavy emitting country, the tar sands are a carbon bomb that needs to be defused. Extracting Canada's 173 billion barrels will drive ever-greater numbers of the planet's most vulnerable over the edge.
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I have now realized that most economists operate under a very different concept of the nature of atmospheric carbon then ecologists like myself. Their paradigm turns any and all carbon into a market commodity to be manipulated by price and economic tools. They don't share the ecologist's concern that such a simplistic model can lead to truly dangerous and perverse public policy.
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The reverse Robin Hood philosophy has been fully embraced by the Ontario government, an odd turn of events for the self-proclaimed "social justice premier." Nothing shows this philosophy better than the government's newest costly experiment, the cap-and-trade carbon tax.
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Imagine this. You open your mailbox this month. Voila! Here is your first carbon dividend cheque from the province. Suddenly, combating climate change with a price on carbon pollution doesn't hurt your pocketbook like conservatives said it would. Ontario could have a climate plan like this. It's called carbon fee and dividend.
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Climate change is "Made in China," but they get off scot-free. We need to admit one simple truth: handicapping Canadians with a tax will have zero effect on global climate change. However, that doesn't mean we can't exert influence and pursue real solutions.
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As Justin Trudeau prepares to meet with the premiers in early December to finalize a pan-Canadian climate plan, a key contradiction remains in the Liberal's framework for a low-carbon economy. Namely, that the government's steadfast commitment to expanding fossil fuel exports is fundamentally antithetical to real action on climate change.
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Climate change is no longer a suspected diagnosis. It's a health emergency that is already causing systemic damage to the health and well-being of many around the world. Consequences reach beyond borders: climate-related drought and crop failure has been implicated as an exacerbating factor in the conflict in Syria. So what does it mean for Canada?
Carbon emissions from power generation are down 40 per cent.
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The federal plan calls for a $10-per-tonne tax starting in 2018 and increasing to $50 per tonne by 2022.
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Justin Trudeau has become less the pipeline pusher that Stephen Harper was, and more of the fossil fuel industry appeaser. Championing Alberta's climate plan, Canada has offered the fossil fuel industry it's own Sudetenland, a 30MT expansion of the tar sands and at least one pipeline.
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As the summer draws to a close and the smell of BBQ still hangs in the air, the idea of a beefless world is for many of us just too terrible to contemplate. But as we'll see, beef's savoury taste also presents us with some rather unsavoury problems. Beef is a huge contributor to global emissions.
The province has had its own cap and trade system since 2013.