Climate Change

Balancing climate action priorities

May 17, 2021

  Fossil fuel consumption accounts for approximately 70 to 75% of a community’s greenhouse gas emissions. So, if you want to make an impact on climate change, building a more efficient and clean energy system must by a priority. Energy related emissions arise from the heating and cooling of our homes and buildings, the powering of industries and the movement...

Canada’s GHG reduction targets fall short

September 20, 2016

  Top Asks for Climate Action: Ramping up Low Carbon Communities was released in June. The report recommended the federal government put a national price on carbon.  A national price would serve as a baseline for all provinces and territories. This action would establish a level playing field across the country while respecting regional differences in the chosen approach to carbon...

Sustainability pushes systems to change

September 7, 2016

Sustainability pushes systems to change.  And that is not easy.  Seth Godin put it so well in his blog post “Bureaucracy, success and the status quo”: “When you show up offering change, understand that the status quo isn’t the enemy of the bureaucracy, it is their entire reason for being.”  Every day, we interact with multiple complex systems.  Most of...

Top Asks For Climate Action released today

June 9, 2016

Canada must act quickly if we are to meet our international climate change commitments, and local governments are central to achieving our goals. Local governments influence over 50 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. The reality is clear: Canada can’t be a leader without local government action.  I was thrilled to be asked to work with the Columbia Institute on this...

More than pricing carbon

March 9, 2016

Some of the proponents of the BC carbon tax are only telling part of the story. I am not weighing in on the right mechanism to price carbon. Whether it is a tax, cap and trade, or fee and dividend, we need to price carbon in Canada. There are pros and cons with each approach along with regional differences in...

This would help local climate change action

February 3, 2016

Communities across Canada have identified an energy and emissions inventory as the most important tool to encourage emission reductions. However, there are few policies that encourage the development and monitoring of inventories in Canada. The development of greenhouse gas inventories is time consuming.  Getting access to reliable data often proves challenging for local governments.  Small communities often don’t have the resources to...

Where's the climate change action?

January 30, 2016

At the current rate, Canada is not going to meet its climate goals – goals that fall far short of what the science says we need to protect us from the devastating impacts of climate change. The National Energy Board projects fossil fuel consumption in Canada will rise by 22 percent over the next 25 years resulting in higher greenhouse...

The Paris Agreement: what's next?

January 2, 2016

One hundred and ninety countries have reached consensus on The Paris Agreement.  The goal is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.  Canada was proudly among them. So what’s next? Now the reality of living up to our international commitments will test all of us.  Time is of the essence. What will you do to take some carbon out of your life?  Local organizations like...

Sober thoughts contemplating climate change

December 4, 2015

The opinion columns I have been reading recently about climate change have been sobering but for new reasons. I used to find them sobering because they too often included a nod to the skeptics.  They always seemed to be hedging their bets.  It felt like they had to wait to see where the winds of public opinion would turn before making a...

Climate talks set expectations high

December 3, 2015

It would be easy to be skeptical of the climate talks underway in Paris given past experience. It might also be too easy as a Canadian to set our expectations too high and think everything will be sorted out for us.  I admit this is a nice feeling for a change but sadly not realistic. As Canadians, we use fossil fuels...

Climate literacy

November 4, 2015

In the last few weeks, I have heard the topic of climate literacy raised several times  – the pressing need to persistently connect the dots between our day-to-day experiences and choices – in our homes, workplaces and communities – and global events. Only a few days ago Hurricane Patricia hit the coast of Mexico.  It was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded...

Lower the noise on climate change

November 1, 2015

Sometimes simple things can make a difference. There is a strong relationship between where and how we live and our impact on the climate. This brings the focus on our communities – big and  small. I have appreciated being engaged recently in discussions considering what policies would best support local action on climate change. One that I like is very simple: include language in the Ontario Municipal Act...

Time to get it on climate change

October 31, 2015

I spent a good part of last week surrounded by Canadian energy leaders from all sectors who get it.  Sanity-restored. Minister Glen Murray opened up the QUEST conference with an unequivocal message of urgency – of the consequences for us if we don’t act now and definitively on climate change. Usually such honest messages receive criticism for fear it will make people feel hopeless....