The high level of awareness and concern comes as no real surprise, as climate change continues to make headlines across Canada. A recent poll
by Forum Research indicates that a majority of Canadians believe that the recent flooding in Calgary and Toronto was caused by anthropogenic climate change, and want to see some action taken by governments. Read about the fallout from Canada's "summer of sorrow
" in an excellent essay by Canadian planner and librarian Michael Dudley.
Accountability in local government
Responding to concern over the rate of political participation in civil society, Guelph is creating an open government action plan
to "empower the Guelph community to work together on innovative solutions." Canadian cities have been working to make information open and free for residents to access, increasing governance transparency, allowing residents to make more informed decisions. With the open government action plan Guelph is setting the bar even higher.
Clean Energy Resolution
On June 19th, Richmond City Council moved to adopt the Clean Energy Resolution. calling on the federal government to work with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to develop a new energy strategy prioritizing clean-energy innovation and green jobs. Richmond will bring this resolution forward at the Union of BC Municipalities 2013 Convention. Read Richmond's council report here
, and an in-depth discussion of the issues in our recent publication A Canadian Energy Strategy: Why should local governments care
To further highlight the need for immediate action, a new study
published in the scientific journal Nature estimates the financial costs of warming in the Arctic. Methane trapped in permafrost below the arctic seabed released into the atmosphere will accelerate atmospheric warming and the loss of arctic sea ice, costing the global economy up to $60 trillion. For context, according to Wikipedia, the entire global economy in 2012 was approximately $70 trillion
For some inspiration, this report
from Sustainable Prosperity argues that taking action on climate change is not necessarily damaging the economy. Since British Columbia instituted a provincial carbon tax, fossil fuel consumption has decreased relative to the rest of the country, while the economy has kept pace with the other Canadian provinces. The authors, who are all economics professors from Canadian universities, recommend that all provinces examine following British Columbia's lead on carbon taxation.
Council of the Federation
Canada's premiers met late last month in Niagara-on-the-Lake for their annual Council of the Federation summit. Discussion focused on the economy, infrastructure, housing, cyber-bullying, and the national Energy Strategy
. Premiers also discussed disaster planning and mitigation
, calling on the federal government to maintain emergency assistance programs and to work with the provinces to develop a nation-wide disaster mitigation initiative.