Category Archives : Reports and Studies


Climate change unleashing toxic chemicals stored in arctic ice

Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) are man-made substances that were once heavily used in pesticides and insecticides, but were restricted in 2001 due to their toxic nature. Air and ocean currents carried many of the pollutants to the arctic where they became trapped in the ice. A new study has shown that  climate change and the READ MORE


Green City Index Report

A new report takes an independent look at 27 North American Cities and rates their environmental performance. The US and Canada Green City Index reports on 9 key areas in urban sustainability; CO₂, energy, land use, buildings, water, waste air and environmental governance. Each city is provided with an environmental profile that examines in detail areas where the city excels or READ MORE


Report on BC’s green industry predicts huge growth for 2011

According to a new repor t published by KPMG, that assesses the current value of BC’s green industry and directions it may go, BC’s green economy sector is forecasted to be $2.5 billion in 2011, a 57 percent increase compared to 2008. In contrast to the service sector, green jobs pay decent salaries. The average salary for READ MORE


Home CETA: A hot topic at gathering of municipal leaders

At the recent FCM (Federation of Canadian Municipalities) annual conference, nearly two thirds of municipal delegates voted to make CETA (The Canadian European Trade Agreement) a topic of debate. Although trade negotiations are not typically a part of FCM discussions, the parameters of CETA directly impact the ability of local governments to protect local procurement READ MORE


CETA

Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and the European Union Canada has been negotiating a new trade agreement with the European Union, an agreement that could hurt local governments. The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) could take away your municipalities’ right to have buy local & buy Canadian policies, increase your administrative READ MORE


Manitoba experiment proves mental and physical health improve with guaranteed income

From 1974-1978, residents of a small Manitoba town received a guaranteed income. The income was enough to make sure the town’s 13,000 residents never dropped below the poverty line. It was part of an experiment called MINCOME and was intended to help assess the value of Canada’s social security system. The experiment was shelved in READ MORE


Hope for reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Despite a lack of action from senior governments, several Canadian municipalities are looking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Halifax and Vancouver are both launching pilot projects that will allow homeowners to retrofit homes with energy efficient appliances, insulation, doors and windows, and heating systems without paying the costs up front. Low interest loans are being READ MORE


Wild Weather Hammers Home Case for Green Jobs

Columbia Institute Executive Director, Charley Beresford, argues last month’s intensive floods, tornadoes and hurricanes should serve as reminder that we can’t wait any longer to start actively reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. A report released by the Columbia Institute, This Green House: Building Fast Action on Climate Change examines the role Canadian READ MORE


Energy Efficiency Home Retrofits Slow Climate Change and Save Canadians Thousands on Energy Bills: Report

Municipal financing makes changes easy and affordable for homeowners A new study – This Green House – Building Fast Action on Climate Change and Green Jobs by the Columbia Institute – reveals that modest investments in energy conservation in homes can save homeowners thousands of dollars, and dramatically and rapidly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG)emissions in READ MORE


Vancouver‘s efforts to reduce street homelessness are working

Every three years Metro Vancouver conducts a street homelessness survey, with volunteers combing the streets, alleys, and parks looking for individuals sleeping outside. This year’s count showed Vancouver’s street homeless population fell by 82% compared with the survey conducted in 2008. The city has made a concerted effort to provide more shelter beds while waiting READ MORE


Emissions from the production of globally traded goods and servives increased by 26% between 1990 and 2008

From 1990 to 2008 CO2 emissions in developed countries have stabilized, but emissions in developing countries have doubled. The study finds that emissions from the production of traded goods and services have increased by (26%). Most developed countries have increased their consumption-based emissions. The net emission transfers via international trade from developing to developed countries READ MORE


Money-losing carbon tax must be fixed: CCPA, Sierra Club

A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) and Sierra Club BC states that the BC carbon tax is “revenue-negative” and increases social inequality. It argues that instead of funding corporate tax cuts, revenues from the tax should be spent on climate change investments such as public transportation and green job creation. READ MORE


Vancouver 2020: A Bright Green Future

Vancouver 2020: A Bright Green Future ” is the City of Vancouver’s action plan for becoming a world leader in environmental sustainability by the year 2020. A sustainable Vancouver is a community that unites short and long term economic, social and environmental well-being, thereby enhancing the quality of life for current and future citizens. The report, which was written by READ MORE


Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change

In 2006 Professor Sir Nicholas Stern, a world expert in economics and climate change, released the “ Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change “. This extensive report addresses the economics of moving towards a low-carbon global economy, stating that the benefits of strong, immediate climate action far outweigh the financial costs of a business-as-usual approach. Stern provides the economic evidence to READ MORE


A New Coalition—Business and Education Leaders, and the Mayor Make the Case for More Education Funding

Surrey business leaders, education leaders and Mayor Diane Watts have joined together to appeal for more education funding. Surrey has the largest public-school district in the province and the local board of trade has argued that education is a cornerstone of a stable economy.The Surrey board of trade recently released a paper titled Education Today, Productivity Tomorrow . Read READ MORE


West Coast Environmental Law Comments on Metro Vancouver 2040 Shaping Our Future

West Coast Environmental Law expressed concerns regarding the latest draft of Metro Vancouver’s Regional Growth Strategy, entitled “Metro Vancouver 2040: Shaping Our Future” . They are concerned that the weak language in the Plan will prevent the region from reaching its goals, and recommend that the region commits to a meaningful set of commitments that will be more likely to achieve READ MORE


A New Climate for Conservation – Nature, Carbon and Climate Change in British Columbia – Full Report

This report reviews scientific and technical literature on climate change and biodiversity in B.C., and provides scientific support for ecosystem conservation as part of a climate action plan. It recommends a climate conservation network comprising at least 50% of B.C.’s land base, and notes that laws and land tenure systems must be altered to accommodate READ MORE


Why carbon offsetting will not save the planet

Dr. Steffen Böhm and Siddhartha Dabhi’s new book, “Upsetting the Offset: The Political Economy of Carbon Markets”, challenges claims about carbon markets and carbon offsetting schemes. The authors argue that these schemes haven’t significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and have actually worsened the problem. Download the book here .


Newly released Canadian Society Report Card

“How Canada Performs: A Report Card on Canada compares quality of life in Canada with peer countries, and publishes comparisons in a report card that measures the following categories: Economy, Innovation, Environment, Education and Skills, Health, and Society. In the most recent report, Canada received one “B”, 2 “C”s and 9 “D”s. Countries with the READ MORE


“Buy American” bogeyman: Instead of fretting about US purchasing policies, we should focus on stimulating Canada’s economy

Blair Redlin of the Canadian Centre for Policy Altnernatives (CCPA) argues that the biggest threat to the Canadian economy and job market is apparently the U.S. government’s “Buy American” provisions. Stephen Harper is telling Canadians that in order to entice the U.S. to give up these provisions and maintain trade agreements, Canadian municipalies and provincial READ MORE


Regional District of Nanaimo: Why Include GHG Reduction Targets in the Regional Growth Strategy?

The District of Nanaimo has included greenhouse gas emissions targets in its Regional Growth Strategy. This decision is ideal because reducing emissions requires collaboration and cooperation, two key aspects of any Regional Growth Strategy. This move is important as it will allow for more effective, standardized management of greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption. Read READ MORE


East Beats West: Nonprofit Childcare Superior to Commercial Sector

The Frontier Centre has recently raved about the values of Alberta’s primarily commercial-based childcare system, while contrasting it against Manitoba’s and Saskatchewan’s not-for-profit systems. Some have criticized this judgement, arguing that commercial systems are discriminatory and government funding should be preferentially provided to not-for-profit systems. Read the full article at the CCPA .


Plans to make Vancouver greenest city in world

Mayor Gregor Robertson has put forward a plan to make Vancouver “the greenest city in the World “. Plans include shaping Vancouver into a hub for green jobs and sustainable industry, and shifting towards a green economy. Plans also include the establishment of pedestrian- and cyclist-friendly corridors in the city core. Read the full report READ MORE


THE PROGRAM ON WATER GOVERNANCE

The Program on Water Governance (PoWG) conducts basic research on water management, engages the wider community in outreach and education on water issues, and facilitates dialogue on water governance between universities, communities, government, NGOs and the private sector. The PoWG is co-hosted by the Department of Geography and the Institute of Resources, Environment and Sustainability at UBC.


Cornell Study Asseses Adverse Effects of Poverty-Induced Physiological Stress on Brain Development

Scientific research suggests that socioeconomic status affects cognitive development and performance in children. Poverty causes social and biological stress that may affect the brain, causing low academic performance among children and youth living in poverty and impaired memory as adults. Read more about the findings of this study at Wired Magazine .


Want One Port Mann Bridge, or a Light Rail Metropolis?

The B.C. government intends to spend $3.1 billion rebuilding and expanding the Port Mann Bridge and connecting Highway 1 routes. Sustainable design researchers at U.B.C. found that for the same cost, the government could finance a light rail system providing connection to residents in Surrey, White Rock, Langley, and Delta. The proposed rail system would READ MORE


B.C. rivers at risk from green power, report says

Half of B.C.’s most threatened rivers are at risk from “green energy projects” according to a report released from the Outdoor Recreation Council of B.C. In the absense of comprehensive provincial strategies, private run-of-river power proposals and urban and industrial development are threatening the health and biological integrity of sensitive river ecosystems. Read report here . READ MORE


Canadian Centre For Policy Alternatives Proposing a $33 Billion Stimulus Package

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives is proposing a one year $ 33 billion dollar economic stimulus package that would create 407,000 new jobs, boost the economy by 3% and protect those hardest hit by recession. Unlike the contents of the Conservative’s  upcoming budget, the CCPA is not propsing any tax cuts. Read more here.


A Poverty Reduction Plan for BC

Despite having a strong economy for the last decade, British Columbia has the highest poverty rates in the country. The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has laid out a Poverty Reduction Plan that would reduce poverty in the province by one third after four years and eliminate street homelessness within 5 years. The plan calls for action in 7 key READ MORE


Majority of Canadians Believe Governmnet Should Act to Reduce Poverty Levels in Canada

According to a recent poll conducted by Environics Research for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives ( CCPA) , an overwhelming majority of Canadians believe action should be taken by all levels of governmnet to reduce poverty levels. Among the key Findings • Above all, Canadians believe now is the time for action: 77% say that in a recession, it’s more important READ MORE


Campus Report: Disappearing Water Fountains

As more municipalities consider banning bottled water from municipal facilities, Canadian university and college campuses are moving in the opposite direction. A new report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) titled “Corporate Initiatives on Campus: A Snapshot” reveals that since the implementation of beverage exclusivity contracts with Coke and Pepsi, drinking fountains are on the decline.


Happiness Linked to Sustainability

The New Economics Foundation has released its latest Happy Planet Index , which shows the relative efficiency with which nations convert their natural resources into long and happy lives for their citizens. The more efficiently they do this, the better the score. The top 6 scorers on the Index (in order) are: Vanuatu, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Panama, READ MORE


Food Secure Communities in BC: Resource Guide for Local Governments

The BC Provincial Health Services Authority has just released this new guide , designed to help local governments create more food secure communities. According to the guide, improving food security involves integrating health, economic, ecological, and social factors. The guide includes such topics as community gardens, farmers’ markets, making food access easy through neighbourhood planning, supporting local food READ MORE


Canada’s Tax System Hurts Job Growth

On June 2, 2008 the Federation of Canadian Municipalities released findings from its latest study which looks at the impact of infrastructure spending on the economy and on government tax revenues. The study concludes that property taxes discourage consumer spending more than equivalent sales or income taxes and leads to the stifling of job creation. When the federal government cuts READ MORE


Polis Project on Ecological Governance

The Polis Project on Ecological Governance is an initiative of the University of Victoria which aims to understand the structure and dynamics of urban water use. The project includes several objectives relevant to local government, including developing innovative governance options that promote sustainable water management, developing water law and policy decision-making tools, and examining urban and emerging water issues in Canada. READ MORE