As world leaders gather in Paris to discuss climate change, we highlight some of our top reports, policy briefs and issue summaries on how Canada is doing in our transition to a low-carbon economy – and what more we can do.


1. Green Tape Measures Up As leaders discuss greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions guidelines and regulations, this recent report concludes that Environmental regulations – often referred to as ‘green tape’ – can be win-win. Not only are the compliance costs lower than we think, the innovation that green tape encourages can strengthen companies’ bottom line. The punch line: when done well, green tape can bring economic and environmental rewards.

2. B.C. Carbon Tax: 7 Years Later Seven years ago a new climate policy was born in British Columbia. So, because we like data and analysis, we shared the highlights from a recent report by Nic Rivers from the University of Ottawa, and Brian Murray, Sustainable Prosperity’s 2015 visiting Fulbright scholar from Duke University’s Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions. And – as no birthday celebration is complete without wishes – we make a wish for year 8 and beyond.

3. Canadian Leaders Pen Low Carbon Economy Letter to Premiers As part of the Canadian delegation, all of Canada’s premiers are in Paris to talk about climate change. In April, a diverse group of prominent leaders from business, civil society and First Nations – including Galen Weston (Loblaws), Ross Beaty (Pan American Silver), David Miller (WWF Canada), Monique Leroux (Desjardins), Ken Neumann (United Steelworkers) and Phil Fontaine (former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations) – wrote an open letter to Canada’s premiers in advance of their Climate Summit in Quebec City to applaud their initiative and offer their support in advancing the pragmatic policies needed to help Canada capture critical low carbon economy opportunities.

4. Investors embrace Canadian climate-themed bonds Working with the Climate Bonds Institute, Sustainable Prosperity covers the Canadian green bond market each year. The 2014 Canada Report (a companion to the global Bonds and Climate Change report prepared by the UK-based Climate Bonds Initiative) found that 2013-2014 was a banner year for green bonds in Canada. What did 2014-2015 bring? You’ll have to stay tuned for the 2015 Green Bonds report later this month. . .

5. Bringing Canada back in line: A Carbon Pricing Primer Given the size of the challenge in reducing global GHG emissions, policies that place a price on emissions will be critical to ensuring Canada transitions to a low-carbon economy. This issue summary brings together the body of evidence and analysis Sustainable Prosperity has developed on carbon pricing, to answer some of the key questions about how a carbon price could work. Our findings show that carbon pricing is no longer an unknown – real-world experience, economic analysis and insider opinions show that now is the time to price carbon. Carbon pricing, though not the only policy we need, is a necessary policy.

6. Policy Bundles for Reducing Transportation Emissions in Large Cities Transportation – including moving both goods and people - is responsible for about one quarter of Canada’s GHG emissions. This policy brief shares the experiences of three large international cities that use multiple policies in tandem to create behavioural change and reduce GHGs, and provides some ideas for Canadian cities to consider.

7. What to Do With Carbon Pricing Revenues Revenue from carbon pricing is increasing in Canada –with ON, BC, AB, QC and MB pricing carbon now (or very soon) . Jurisdictions with carbon prices will choose from various revenue allocation options, selecting those that present the best value to them. This Issue Summary lays out the allocation options for carbon pricing revenues, with a discussion of what criteria might guide jurisdictions. It’s based on a research paper by Marisa Beck and Randall Wigle.

8. The Political Economy of Quebec and California’s Cap and Trade Systems California has committed to reducing its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 while Québec has committed to reducing emissions 20% below 1990 levels in the same time period. The linked cap-and-trade systems of California and Québec (and soon, Ontario) operate under guidelines of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), a voluntary subnational intergovernmental organization initiated in 2007. How did such different jurisdictions end up linking their cap and trade systems? Read more in this research report.

9. Assessing Key Features of Residential Energy Retrofit Financing Programs Residential energy retrofits offer substantial opportunities in Canada for GHG emissions reductions, job creation and residential energy savings. Many residential energy efficiency and energy switching measures are cost-effective with favourable payback periods and investment returns, yet up-take of these measures has been lower than expected due to some persistent market barriers. This policy brief explores the case for using financing programs to promote home energy retrofits, informed by experience with these programs to date.

10. Recognizing our Natural Capital While leaders are talking about emissions and low-carbon economies in Paris, they’re also coming to the conclusion that we need to think more broadly about our natural capital. Our 2014 Policy Brief lays out why natural capital is important to Canada’s Economy. Since then, we’ve also launched our Natural Capital & Productivity Project. Canada’s natural capital is busy helping us mitigation climate emissions (e.g., trees soaking up carbon) and helping us adapt to climate (e.g., wetlands are natural stormwater managers) – but it’s also at risk from climate change. All the more reason to value it and protect it.

Looking for more on Canada’s transition to a low carbon economy? You can read more of our low carbon research here.