Carbon Tax discussion goes main stream

Carbon tax awareness among the general population really is increasing. Last Wednesday’s Ontario Today question was “Are you willing to pay a Carbon Tax?” Invited guests were Glenn Murray, Ontario’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change and Andrew Weaver, a well known climate scientist and MPP in British Columbia, and Nick Rivers, Canada Research Chair in … Read more

More Bang for our Buck

This summer I had a thoroughly pleasant morning with an old friend at the Fredericton Saturday farmers’ market. Steve stopped to chat with friends wherever he turned, we bought provisions, and I bought a few gifts for my family. I was intrigued by the number of people wearing yellow t-shirts with the logo you see at … Read more

The New Economy

There are countries whose existing industry interests create problems for adoption of renewable energy.   Australia and Canada have very large investments in fossil fuels.  Australia has enormous coal reserves, and Canada has its tar sands.  The US has large investments in coal, gas and oil.

The US also has perhaps the world’s largest investment in new technology. Technology heavyweights such as Apple and Google have committed to expand use of renewable energy. So the current political struggle pits the fossil fuel industry (coal mining states) against the technology sector (California, New England states).

Many countries leading the transition to renewable energy do not have to overcome opposition from local fossil fuel interests. Germany, a manufacturing powerhouse, is shutting down its remaining coal mines by 2018.  So . . .  without a large fossil fuel industry, Germany has had an easier task in developing both the infrastructure for renewable energy and investment in renewable installations.

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“Divestment”

If you are concerned about climate change, you are probably aware of the need to reduce the world’s dependency on fossil fuels.   A decision by fossil fuel companies to wind down their exploration for further sources of fossil fuels to exploit would contribute to this objective.  Yet they will not do so voluntarily.  They may do so if they run into investor opposition.

If you invest in a Canadian mutual fund, you will probably have a large stock holding in fossil fuel companies.  Environmental organizations fighting climate change want to persuade you to sell this stock.

Your first reaction will be: “These investments have done me well so far, and I need them to be there for my retirement”.

How do you reconcile your concern about climate change with the natural desire to invest for your future?  The United Church’s “Green Awakening Network” will address this difficult question at its 2014 Annual Forum on March 1st  next.

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Selling Our Future

This month’s feature is adapted from Chapter 1, “Selling Our Future,” in Lester R. Brown, Plan B 4.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2009), available on-line atwww.earthpolicy.org/index.php?/books/pb4 For more information on Lester R. Brown, please click here. Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest, puts it well: “At present we are stealing … Read more

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