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Posts Tagged ‘Environment’

 

With the economy over taken the environment as the key issue for citizens, I recently completed a survey on environmental issues in Manitoba. Based on the results of the survey, from Surveymonkey.com, it’s best for environmentalists in Manitoba to consider a more policy market-based orientated environmental agenda to engage citizens, compared to a protest, activist driven model. 

According to the survey done between February 23, 2010 and March 26, 2010, 100% of people surveyed mentioned that policy discussion would be the best way to engage someone on environmental issues, compared to 0%. This correlates with results showing that 60% of respondents said that questionable protest tactics some environmental groups use (i.e. running up CN tower), only hampers the environmental cause. Twenty per-cent said they helped, while another 20% said protesting neither helps or hurts. 

Citizens think the current government should think of new ideas to clean the environment. Eighty per-cent of those who answered on whether they think the Province of Manitoba could do more to create new groundbreaking ideas on environmental issues said yes. Only twenty per-cent said no. 

The Manitoba government received a negative reception on their environmental policy and strategy on environmental issues. On a scale of one to ten with one being very poor and 10 being world-class, 40% gave the provinces policy a 4 and another 40% gave it a five, meaning 80% of survey goers gave the province a below average grade on our governments policy action. Only 20% gave a 10, meaning Manitoba is doing a world-class job. 

Perhaps some of the most interesting responses from this month-long survey, came from the idea of an alternative energy policy. The question asked “Do you think that the province of Manitoba should get away from Manitoba Hydro as its only alternative energy strategy and create newer strategies that encourage local small-scale consumer co-ops, civic utilities, or small-scale private alternative energy providers, outside of Hydro?”, eighty per-cent said yes, Manitoba needs to consider newer strategies for an alternative energy policy that can include co-operatives and small-scale private businesses who can offer alternative energy services. Only twenty per-cent said no. 

The survey also supported the idea of creating a provincial wide green jobs strategy program here in Manitoba, that can include things like small-scale environmental business opportunities. Again, eighty per-cent said yes, while only twenty per-cent said no. 

While the survey only attracted five respondents, the survey shows, that maybe Manitoban’s would consider more market based solutions to environmental problems, including broadening the alternative energy strategy, more policy discussion among citizens, and green job creation. Manitoba needs to look outside the box solutions to the current environmental problem and lead Canada in sustainability. 

 

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Manitoba Modern Economics, Technology, and the Environment, has created a clear to understand document about climate change, poverty and the solutions. The work showcased here, addresses what solutions Manitoba should take in fighting poverty and cleaning the environment for everyone. The document points out to examples like Curitiba, Brazil and Bologna, Italy, which used unique methods of reducing poverty, and pollution.

Climate Change & Poverty

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Reviewed March 16, 2010 by Adam Johnston

CBC’s Smart Shift, recently put up a documentary on their website, called Future Earth: Addicted to Power. The documentary talks about the earth’s crazy hunger for energy for daily living, and the consequences if habit changes don’t occur. What is great about this documentary is that they discuss what could happen in various examples per various fuels. One example in this documentary is an oil tanker being attacked by terrorist groups, causing oil prices to rise, dwindling oil supply and creating a potential massive global recession.

Other examples the documentary talks about include:

– Power outage in the Eastern Coast with the electric grid.

– Massive storm flooding a hydro-electric dam in China, flooding hundreds of thousands of people.

– Natural gas explosion in Boston harbor.

Bottom line in this documentary, is we need to diversify our energy, get ourselves away from the non-renewable resources and start working towards making alternative clean energies work like wind and solar. Very good short documentary for those who want more information about the delicate balance between economics, energy, and the environment.  **** out of 5 stars.

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Originally a report for Environmental Economics last term, I put this report on line today, recommending that the Province of Manitoba look at greening the income tax system. The report, suggest that, based on research, provided that the current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere around 387 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere, which is above the acceptable levels of 350, the planet is at risk.

Because carbon dioxide is a trace gas and gets trapped in the atmosphere, this contributes to the heating of the atmosphere, called the Green House Gas Effect. This makes the atmosphere warmer.

This has caused temperatures to rise, and according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, could rise, to as much as ten Celsius within the very northern parts of Canada.  This increase in temperatures, may not only affect local weather (example could be increased rain storms in Manitoba winters), but as well as economies as well. The Stern Report, released in 2006 pointed that Gross Domestic Product could fall between 5-10 percent on average. Also in the findings, was a report by Swiss Re, saying that insurance costs based on findings could rise as much as $45 million annually.

In order to combat reduce and find the best pricing system for carbon dioxide, Manitoba should implement a carbon tax system. This would include the following:

– Put a tax rate on carbon outlets like diesel, gasoline, coal, etc.

– Make the system revenue neutral, by cutting income taxes specifically for lower and middle-income people, those who would be effected.

– Have a panel of citizens, environmentalists, economists, and business people debate and create what rates should carbon be taxed at.

– Create new investment opportunities in green technologies for low to middle-income people with a new credit, similar to the Manitoba Community Enterprise Credit. Some examples of small-scale green technology business opportunities range from local consumer/worker co-operative solar projects as well as small private run alternative energy projects.

The report also recommends that the carbon tax is the best carbon pricing system, because a tax eliminates the need for regulatory costs, with emission regulation, while at the same time, eliminating big polluters monopolizing the tradeable emission permit system by buying out all the permits.

For more information contact Adam Johnston at moderneconomicstechenviro@gmail.com.

Greening Manitoba’s tax system

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