Showing posts from November 19, 2014

Smart, Practical, Possible: Canadian options for greater economic and environmental prosperity

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[Basically a fiscal case for green economics. An excellent new Canadian report making the economic case for a new suite of Canadian policies—ecofiscal policies—that align our municipal, provincial and national economic ambitions with environmental imperatives. It demonstrates the opportunity for Canada to modernize its fiscal system in a way that drives innovation, investment, growth and better protection for our natural wealth. Drawing from the growing body of international examples and case studies, the report also presents uniquely Canadian successes and considerations for achieving smart, practical and attainable ecofiscal policy solutions. *RON*]

The Executive Summary

Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission will examine practical fiscal solutions for Canada that spark the innovation required for increased economic and environmental prosperity. We believe that aligning Canada’s economic and environmental aspirations is both critical and possible for our country’s…

BC Ferries' service cuts cost Victoria in lost tax revenue

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[No savings: Tourism income down, small businesses threatened, report finds. Because privatization guarantees that all decisions will be wise, and good. *RON*]

By Stephen Hume, Vancouver Sun, 17 November 2014

Tourism revenue plunged by $3.9 million and passenger loads collapsed by 46 per cent following deep service cuts by the B.C. Ferry Corporation to the provincial government's heavily promoted Discovery Coast Circle Tour through the Chilcotin.

Rubbing salt in the wound, it turns out that service cuts supposed to yield a $725,000 saving actually wound up costing Victoria $870,000 in lost tax revenue under the austerity plan pushed by Transportation tation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone.

An economic analysis to be released today confirms reductions to mid-coast ferry services turned out to cost more than they save - and triggered an immediate implosion of both passenger use and gross tourism revenues on one of British Columbia's ma…

How People’s Political Passions Distort Their Sense of Reality

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[If you don't like the solution you tend to dismiss the problem - a potentially strong explanation for the lack of action on human-induced climate change. A major issue with all this research on heuristics and biases is that no one proposes any effective counter-measures. *RON*]
By Brandon Keim, Wired, 19 November 2014

Though people might disagree on how to solve a problem, they can at least agree that the problem exists. Or can they? A new study finds that deeply held beliefs can undermine rationality: When confronted with solutions that challenge deeply held values, people may be inclined to disbelieve the problem.

Psychologists tested hundreds of American adults on their beliefs about climate change and violent crime after proposing solutions involving, respectively, government regulations and gun ownership. Spooked by legally mandated fossil fuel restrictions, conservatives were less likely to accept the best scientific estimates on globa…

Red Chris mine tailings dam design concerns identified

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[In other words, Imperial Metals' new tailing pond is potentially worse than the one at Mount Polley. So, here is the Liberal government's big chance to act proactively - I'm holding my breath (not). *RON*]
Derrick, West Coast Native News, reposted from the Vancouver Sun, 18 November 2014

By Gordon Hoekstra, Vancouver Sun

An independent review of Imperial Metals’ Red Chris mine tailings dam design demanded by the Tahltan First Nation after the Mount Polley collapse has identified concerns.

The Klohn Crippen Berger review — paid for by Imperial Metals — found that the design is feasible if constructed properly.

However, a major design issue is the “high permeability” of the soils the two major earthen dams will be built on, which means if a fine-grained “tailings blanket” does not stop seepage, it could cause stability problems and allow significant water to leak from the storage facility, according to the review obtained by The Vancouver …

Big Oil Is Following in Kodak's Footsteps (and Missing the Boat)

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[The idea is simple, but so are the minds that are ignoring it. *RON*]
Rob Shirkey, Huffington Post, 18 November 2014

When my Dad was my age, Kodak had 90 per cent of the market share for photography in the U.S. It was a giant in the sector. To suggest that it would fall would be unthinkable yet, not too long ago, it declared bankruptcy. I recently gave a talk to elementary school students who had never even heard of the company. As unimaginable as it might be today, Exxon, Shell, and BP are now destined to face a similar fate.

It's a simple story: Kodak was in the business of capturing memories and their particular method was film. As digital photography began to emerge, Kodak failed to adjust to a market shift. At the time, the technology was expensive, the images were pixellated, and storage capacity was limited. Kodak was dismissive of the emerging technology and failed to invest in it. Perhaps the organization's historic and cultural u…

Let’s cut government fossil fuel subsidies and free up billions for more productive investment

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[This clearly contains far too much commonsense to ever have an impact on BC and Federal politicians. With the US and China developing their own fully integrated natural gas systems, demand for BC gas is plummeting, as are global prices. *RON*]
Hamish Stewart, Vancouver Observer, 18 November 2014

This week in London, the Overseas Development Institute launched a new report on fossil fuel subsidies in G20 countries. The report encourages national and sub-national governments to stop subsidising wasteful and inefficient fossil fuel extraction and use, and to move towards more sustainable sources of long-term economic growth. It describes federal and British Columbia government subsidies to the fossil fuel sector as a “reckless use of public funds.” In addition to significant tax subsidies for domestic natural gas and coal exploration, Canadian taxpayers are also subsidising fossil fuel exploration abroad, via financing from Export Development Canad…

Rental Housing Index shows crisis level of spending in BC

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[BC Non-Profit Housing Association launches innovative ‘Rental Housing Index’ that brings crucial rental data to the forefront. It's not just that non-rich renters are being forced out of the city and into the suburbs - there's no affordable rental accommodation in the suburbs either! *RON*]
Vancouver Observer, 18 November 2014
Almost half of all renter households are paying more than 30 percent of their gross income on rent in BC, according to new data released today from the Rental Housing Index. Nearly one quarter of British Columbians are paying more than 50 percent of their income on rent, putting them at a crisis level of spending. Both of these numbers show that more British Columbians are facing a serious affordability crunch.

The results come from the Rental Housing Index, a new interactive map of rental data launched today by the BC Non Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA) at their annual conference. The Index, developed in partn…

The rise of Lee Brain and oil pipeline critics as mayors in B.C.

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[Municipal opposition to oil and gas projects continues to mount in BC. Another "what the.."? moment for oil companies: the new mayors of B.C.'s northern communities aren't big fans of the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline project. *RON*]
Jenny Uechi, Vancouver Observer, 18 November 2014

Lee Brain, who many remember as the oil executive's son who delivered a powerful testimony against Enbridge at the Northern Gateway hearings two years ago, just became mayor of Prince Rupert.

It's not good news for Enbridge, which was -- until recently -- considering moving its terminal for the Northern Gateway pipeline from Kitimat to Prince Rupert, after Kitimat residents and city council came out against the project.

Brain told the Vancouver Observer he remains categorically opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.

"I'm not in favour of any oil through Prince Rupert. I think even if it's by rail -- people in…

Canada's Income Inequality Shrinks Slightly, But Still Worse Than A Generation Ago

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["Canada - not the worst!" Our new national motto. I feel such a swelling of pride. *RON*]

By Daniel Tencer, The Huffington Post Canada, 18 November 2014

Income in Canada grew slightly more equal in 2012, as the proportion taken home by the country’s top earners shrank, StatsCan says.
But it’s hardly enough to offset the notable increase in income inequality seen in the country over the past 30 years.

The top one per cent of earners in Canada took home 10.3 per cent of all income in 2012, down a little from 10.6 per cent in 2011, StatsCan reported.

That’s well below the peak hit in 2006, when the top one per cent took home 12.1 per cent of all income. But it’s well above the 7.1 per cent of income that the one-percenters took home in 1982, the starting point for StatsCan’s data.

Still, that’s considerably less concentration of wealth than what the U.S. is seeing, StatsCan notes. The top one per cent there took home 19.3 per cent of all inco…