June 2009

The United States Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has released the most comprehensive report so far on climate change impacts in the United States: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. The USGCRP consists of thirteen departments and agencies of the US federal government. Some of the key findings include: Climate changes are underway […]


Apparently, the government of Ontario is reconsidering its decision to build more nuclear power plants, due to concerns about cost overruns and the status of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd (AECL). The province was previously planning to spend $26 billion over the next few decades, expanding and refurbishing nuclear reactors. Apparently, the Ontario government has […]


Apparently, Canada’s Competition Bureau is considering loosening rules on collusion to benefit oil sands producers. Specifically, the proposed rule would permit firms to coordinate on megaprojects, without risking criminal charges for anti-competitive behaviour. Firms could do things like plan staggered construction schedules, to try to avoid the large increases in costs that accompanied the run […]


There is an interesting difference between the basic pattern that crime and security legislation tend to follow, after passage, when compared with the development of environmental laws. In general, crime and security legislation is too strong at the outset: it exaggerates a particular risk (say, youth violence) and then creates draconian measures intended to counter […]


Adopting a personal ethical position where you don’t fly or otherwise travel long distances because of climate change is rather problematic: it has no upside, and a lot of downside. There is no upside because nobody is willing to copy you. Even people who agree that the science on climate change is compelling, that our […]


Auden Schendler’s Getting Green Done: Hard Truths from the Front Lines of the Sustainability Revolution fills an important niche in the overall discussion about climate change and building a low-carbon global society. As the director of sustainability for the Aspen Skiing Company, he has personal experience with pitching and sometimes executing green projects, including those […]


Helpfully, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has made it clear that members can use border tax adjustments to deal with other jurisdictions that lack carbon pricing. For instance, steelmakers that are subject to a domestic carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme could have their profitability protected from steelmakers in unregulated jurisdictions, through the use of an […]


The key thing that is required for dealing with climate change, and which our society does not yet possess, is seriousness. Seriousness of the kind that accompanied winning the Second World War – far more seriousness than we are displaying now in Afghanistan. We can afford to effectively lose that war, watching control pass back […]


James Hansen, head of NASAs Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was arrested while protesting mountaintop removal coal mining in West Virginia. Hansen has been one of the most prominent scientists giving warning about the seriousness of climate change. The problem of climate change is certainly serious enough to warrant civil disobedience, as recommended by Al […]


There seems to be a good chance of a vote on the Waxman-Markey climate change bill in the US House of Representatives in the coming week or so. Coverage on the bill has been very mixed, even among strong supporters of action on climate change. Partly, that reflects the sheer complexity of the thing, with […]