About: Guest Blogger

Guest Blogger

Guest Bloggers for Canada's Ecofiscal Commission.


Recent Posts by Guest Blogger

Less trash means more cash for Calgarians

by Lindsay Tedds, Preston Manning and Jim Dinning It’s easy to put our garbage at the curb and forget about it. But waste management isn’t free: we always pay for it, one way or another, sooner or later. Maybe it’s through monthly fees. Or maybe it’s higher property taxes down the […] More

The answers municipal governments have been looking for?

by Rachel Samson Municipal governments are facing multiple, growing, and overlapping challenges. Yet, there are tools available to address these challenges that are not being used to their full potential.  Market-based policies such as well-designed user fees can help reduce traffic, cut water use, and improve solid waste management, while […] More

The costs of climate change are rising

By Glen Hodgson Debate about reducing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions frequently references the costs of different policy choices going forward. There is comparatively little debate about the current and expected economic costs of climate change. Policy debate and decisions need to recognize that there is a cost to doing little […] More

Is Canada’s carbon-pricing policy striking the right balance?

by Chris Ragan, Peter Robinson and Steve Williams Debates about Canadian climate policy attract people from different perspectives and life experiences – including the three authors of this column. What views could we possibly share regarding sensible climate policy? Heading up an environmental organization, Peter Robinson understandably emphasizes the urgent […] More

Linking climate policy and economic growth in Saskatchewan

by  Craig Alexander and Chris Ragan Even after last week’s budget, Saskatchewan faces two important economic challenges. The first is to enhance its economic growth, projected to be below the national average this year. The second is to reduce its GHG emissions, currently the highest in Canada in per-capita terms. Addressing […] More

How carbon pricing will drive Canadians to save

by  Annette Verschuren and Chris Ragan The new carbon-pricing systems are now in effect in Ontario and Alberta, and some people are complaining that the policies sting a little. This is not surprising. Carbon pricing works precisely by raising the price of carbon-intensive goods and services, incentivizing all of us […] More

Campbell – A carbon tax is good, but the NDP is going about it the wrong way

by Gordon Campbell All Canadians depend on energy for jobs, for public services, and for transfer payments. Energy is about the value of the Canadian dollar and about how much things cost to buy. We all fall prey to the tired dogmas that suggest a strong energy industry prevents us […] More

Self-driving cars: A techno-utopia or an eco-nightmare?

by Simon Altman Elon Musk recently announced that Tesla will have a fully autonomous car ready by 2020, and Tesla is not alone. As this technology moves from dream to reality, some have started to discuss the opportunities it will present, while others are stuck dwelling on the risks. In […] More

Unpacking the WCI: Storm on the horizon?

by Simon Altman In the first blog of our series Unpacking the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), we looked at the implications of Ontario and Quebec’s decision to link with California. In today’s blog we explore an ongoing lawsuit in California that could pose an existential threat to its cap-and-trade system, […] More

Peter Nicholson on Recycling Revenue from Carbon Pricing in Nova Scotia

by Peter Nicholson On April 14th we held a live panel discussion: The Revenue Recycling Opportunity for Atlantic Canada. Peter Nicholson was one of our panellists. Here are his opening remarks. In Nova Scotia, the prevailing attitude toward carbon pricing lies somewhere between skeptical and outright hostile. So there is […] More

The case for free allocation of emission permits

by Mark Purdon, David Houle and Blake Shaffer Our next report will explore the challenges and opportunities with different approaches to recycling revenues from carbon pricing. To better understand the trade-offs associated with each revenue recycling option, we commissioned a set of six papers authored by some of Canada’s leading […] More

Recycling Carbon Pricing Revenues to Reduce Public Debt

by Jean-François Wen Our next report will explore the challenges and opportunities with different approaches to recycling revenues from carbon pricing. To better understand the trade-offs associated with each revenue recycling option, we commissioned a set of six papers authored by some of Canada’s leading policy thinkers. What are the […] More

Carbon Pricing and the Case for (Green) Infrastructure

by Marc Lee Our next report will explore the challenges and opportunities with different approaches to recycling revenues from carbon pricing. To better understand the trade-offs associated with each revenue recycling option, we commissioned a set of six papers authored by some of Canada’s leading policy thinkers. What are the […] More

How to price carbon so that emissions go down and citizens don’t go crazy*

by PJ Partington and Vicky Sharpe Our next report will explore the challenges and opportunities with different approaches to recycling revenues from carbon pricing. To better understand the trade-offs associated with each revenue recycling option, we commissioned a set of six papers authored by some of Canada’s leading policy thinkers. […] More

We All Own the Air: Why a Carbon Fee and Dividend Makes Sense for Canada

by Lars Osberg Our next report will explore the challenges and opportunities with different approaches to recycling revenues from carbon pricing. To better understand the trade-offs associated with each revenue recycling option, we commissioned a set of six papers authored by some of Canada’s leading policy thinkers. What are the […] More

Case for Using Revenue from a Carbon Tax to Reduce Existing Taxes

by Ken McKenzie Our next report will explore the challenges and opportunities with different approaches to recycling revenues from carbon pricing. To better understand the trade-offs associated with each revenue recycling option, we commissioned a set of six papers authored by some of Canada’s leading policy thinkers. What are the […] More

In their own words: Stephen Huddart, Ecofiscal Funder

The following testimonial is from our 2015 Annual Report. At the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, we focus on the big-picture questions of systems change. How do we enhance Canada’s ability to address complex social, environmental and economic challenges? How do we build a more sustainable, resilient society? These conversations are […] More

In their own words: Nancy Olewiler, Ecofiscal Commissioner

The following testimonial is from our 2015 Annual Report. When I look around the room at an Ecofiscal Commission meeting, I see an amazing group of people. I see a former deputy minister of the environment chatting with the Conference Board of Canada’s chief economist. I see a former clerk […] More

In their own words: Preston Manning, Ecofiscal Advisor

The following testimonial is from our 2015 Annual Report. I’m often asked how I reconcile conservative economic values with environmental interests. For me, there’s no inherent philosophical conflict. After all, “conservation” and “conservative” come from the same root. We need to find a way to move past the economy-versus-environment way […] More

Getting HOT Lanes Right Means Getting Everyone Onboard

By Kevin Vuong Now that we know when and where HOT lanes are coming, the next critical question is how do we bring GTHA commuters along for the ride? Earlier this week Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca announced that the Ontario government will be moving forward with a high-occupancy […] More

Think before you toll

On November 2nd, we released our congestion pricing report We Can’t Get There from Here: Why Pricing Congestion is Critical to Beating It. Guest blogger Jean-François Barsoum, Senior Managing Consultant, Smarter Cities, Water and Transportation, Innovation, Research & Development at IBM, gives us his opinion on congestion charging. by Jean-François […] More

All Fired Up about Congestion Pricing

The following piece, by well-known and well-read Toronto blogger Cityslikr, was originally published on All Fired Up in the Big Smoke: "a blog about living in the city. More specifically, a blog about the politics of living in a city." While we don't agree with all of the author's critiques, […] More

Traffic, and its Solution, is All About People

By Kevin Vuong On November 3rd, I joined a panel of experts in Toronto to talk about Pricing Congestion in the GTHA. If there is one take away from that discussion, it’s this: the success of congestion pricing hinges on widespread public understanding and acceptance. As individuals engaging in this […] More

It’s Time We Talked About the Human Costs of Congestion

by Kevin Vuong When the cost of congestion is discussed, the emphasis has been on the economic cost and the loss of productivity because, quite frankly, it’s easier to quantify. Yes, congestion hinders mobility in the physical sense of getting from one place to another, and there has been extensive […] More

Similarities and Differences between Carbon Tax and Cap-and-Trade Systems

The following blog was originally published on the Network for Business Sustainability blog, on August 10, 2015. Know What to Expect from Cap-and-Trade or a Carbon Tax The carbon conversation is shifting. It’s no longer about whether to put a price on carbon; it is about how to do it. […] More

Carbon tax versus cap-and-trade: what’s the difference? (Hint: it’s smaller than you think)

By Paul Lanoie When we talk about pricing carbon, there are two main possibilities. One option is creating a carbon tax, as B.C., Denmark and Sweden have done. The other option is to create a cap-and-trade system. This is the route Quebec has taken, along with California, Korea and parts […] More

Advancing the climate debate in Canada

The following is a cross-posted blog from cigionline.org by Erin Baxter, Public Affairs Coordinator and Kevin Dias, Communications Specialist. We can have our cake and eat it too, said Chris Ragan, Canadian economist and chair of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission. Speaking at CIGI as part of the Signature Lecture Series, Ragan […] More

Give it to me straight: does a carbon tax hit lower-income families harder?

by Mel Cappe It’s a good question: if we tax carbon, will lower-income Canadians end up paying proportionately more than their wealthier neighbours? Let’s start by looking at the objective of a carbon tax. What we’re trying to do is make sure people consider the real cost of using fossil […] More

Harnessing Market Mechanisms for Environmental Conservation in the Oil Industry

By Preston Manning The following are excerpts from remarks made by Preston Manning to the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association (NEIA) on April 27th, 2015 in St. John’s. http://ecofiscal.ca/carbon-pricing/ Recently I was asked to be one of a number of advisors to what is called the Ecofiscal Commission – […] More

5 thoughtful responses to The Way Forward from Canadian experts

This is a fascinating moment to be working on climate policy in Canada. The conversation provincially and nationally has picked up significant momentum over the past few weeks, and the Ecofiscal Commission was able to play its own small part in shaping that discussion with the launch of The Way […] More

Carbon pricing in Canada: What works, what doesn’t and what we can learn from it

To judge the success of different carbon pricing strategies, Canadians don’t need to look far. In 2007, Alberta implemented its Specified Gas Emitters Regulation (SGER), a flexible performance standard, which has elements of both a carbon tax and a cap-and-trade system. B.C. has had a carbon tax since 2008, and […] More

When tackling climate change, don’t wait for policy perfection

The following was orginally published in Maclean's on April 15, 2015. Soon three-quarters of Canadians will live in provinces that put a price on carbon. It’s time to move forward with smart carbon pricing policy in the rest The scientific consensus is clear: we have to substantially reduce our carbon […] More

Storify of our 1st Tweet Chat on Carbon Pricing with Chris Ragan

What follows is the Twitter summary of our first Tweet Chat event held on Thursday April 16th with our Chair, Chris Ragan. The topic was carbon pricing, following our report release. You can view all the tweets at twchat.com/hashtag/Ecofiscal [View the story "TweetChat on Carbon Pricing with Chris Ragan" on […] More

Making the Grade on Carbon Pricing and the Economy

As Economics 101 students gear up for their final exams, Canadian policy makers are working to pass a real-life economics test. Their challenge: how to reconcile both environmental and economic imperatives, particularly in the face of rising greenhouse gas emissions. Here’s one question a number of those decision-makers are puzzling: […] More

Act Now or Pay a Lot More Later: The Need for Urgent Action

Our climate is changing and the impacts on our economy and wellbeing are large and growing more so every day. Strong policy measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are needed by all countries say world leaders, the International Energy Agency, United Nations, World Bank, thousands of scientists, and Canada’s Ecofiscal […] More

Leave carbon pricing to the provinces

This Full Comment piece by Glen Hodgson originally appeared in the National Post on April 7, 2015. Carbon pricing is the most efficient way to fight climate change, and the provinces are best placed to apply it — at surprisingly low cost to business. Today, Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission is releasing a […] More

Storify of our Toronto carbon pricing event

What follows is the Twitter summary of our event on Wednesday. If you weren't able to make it, you can watch the webcast. [View the story "The Business of Carbon Pricing in Ontario" on Storify] More

Annette Verschuren on carbon pricing, jobs and making Canada a progressive energy leader

The Ecofiscal Commission recently welcomed Annette Verschuren to its Advisory Board. We sat down for an interview with her. Your latest venture is NRSTor — a company that focuses on renewable-energy storage. Is it fair to say that you believe green energy has a role to play in Canada’s future? […] More

Storify of our Edmonton event on addressing GHG emissions

[View the story "Aligning Aspirations: An Ecofiscal Approach to the GHG Challenge" on Storify] More

Boldly reimagining climate policy

This oped by Trevor McLeod originally appeared in the Edmonton Journal on March 11, 2015. This year, international and domestic timetables will provide a real opportunity to reimagine environmental and economic policy in Canada under the leadership of the provinces. As they plan their moves, they would do well to […] More

5 Questions for Richard Lipsey: putting the market to work for the environment

“If you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three.” So said Winston Churchill. So what happens when you put 12 leading economists in a room and ask them to focus on one of the […] More

6 questions for France St-Hilaire: On prosperity, mining waste, and seizing the moment to spark discussion

“If you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three.” So said Winston Churchill. So what happens when you put 12 leading economists in a room and ask them to focus on one of the […] More

6 Questions for Paul Boothe: how ecofiscal measures spur innovation

“If you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three.” So said Winston Churchill. So what happens when you put 12 leading economists in a room and ask them to focus on one of the […] More

6 Questions for Mel Cappe: on setting agendas, showing leadership and seizing opportunities

“If you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three.” So said Winston Churchill. So what happens when you put 12 leading economists in a room and ask them to focus on one of the […] More

6 Questions for Paul Lanoie: on untapped opportunities, ecofiscal pricing and how Canada compares

“If you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three.” So said Winston Churchill. So what happens when you put 12 leading economists in a room and ask them to focus on one of the […] More

6 Questions for Bev Dahlby: why pricing pollutants works better than regulations, tax breaks or subsidies

“If you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three.” So said Winston Churchill. So what happens when you put 12 leading economists in a room and ask them to focus on one of the […] More

Canada can do better

This piece originally appeared in the January 2015 edition of Policy Options. Canadians enjoy an enviable standard of living, yet we can do even better. Putting ecofiscal policies in place are key to Canada improving its management of natural assets and ensuring sustained prosperity. Measurement is crucial for policy-makers: it […] More

6 Questions for Glen Hodgson: on doing research, pricing carbon and giving the business sector the clarity it needs

“If you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three.” So said Winston Churchill. So what happens when you put 12 leading economists in a room and ask them to focus on one of the […] More

5 Questions for Don Drummond: on carrots, sticks and creating a critical mass of consensus

“If you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three.” So said Winston Churchill. So what happens when you put 12 leading economists in a room and ask them to focus on one of the […] More

Is Green (Tech) the new Black(berry)? Environmental Goods and Canada’s Competitiveness

by Richard Lipsey and Céline Bak What will it take to remain competitive in a rapidly changing global economy? There are likely many answers to that question, but one is certain: innovation. It is a key factor of success in the world’s most competitive economies. This is a challenge for […] More

Polluter Pay, Not Tax Cuts

Check out Andrew Jackson’s full article and Chris Ragan’s response. Progressives will welcome the launch of the Commission, which has put polluter pay squarely at the heart of the policy agenda, and may break a taboo when it comes to talking about pricing carbon. But the first discussion paper shows […] More

Chris Ragan on ‘ecofiscal’ policies for Canada

This piece by Chris Chipello originally appeared in The McGill Reporter on December 5, 2014 Economics Prof. Christopher Ragan made headlines across the country last month with the launch of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, an independent group of 12 policy-savvy economists determined to promote fiscal changes that will benefit both the […] More

5 Questions for Nancy Olewiler: carbon, water, traffic and the cantankerousness of economists

“If you put two economists in a room, you get two opinions, unless one of them is Lord Keynes, in which case you get three.” So said Winston Churchill. So what happens when you put 12 leading economists in a room and ask them to focus on one of the […] More

Mintz and Williams: Continuing Canada’s Tradition of Smart Fiscal Policy

This oped by Jack Mintz and Steven Williams originally appeared in the Calgary Herald on November 4, 2014 As the world becomes increasingly open to policies addressing economic growth, innovation and environmental quality, increased attention has been paid to what might be called “ecofiscal” policies: levies used to reduce environmental […] More


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