Environment

Smart Green Frontiers Project

Explores how to solve environmental problems without reducing human freedom. Communicates that environmental indicators are improving in general; challenges climate change orthodoxy; is developing a “smart green” branding methodology to encourage scientifically rigorous and market-oriented environmental policy.

Frontier’s Smart Green Project explores ways to solve environmental problems without reducing human freedom and hindering economic growth.

The Frontier Centre would like to see the environmental agenda shift from a “command and control” style of regulation towards the use of market incentives and property rights to solve environmental problems. The latter approach has a better chance of accomplishing the universal objective of a cleaner and healthier world.

Frontier's 7 Smart Green principles:

1. Rely on unbiased science
2. Focus on measurable results
3. Recognize wealth creation as the wellspring for environmental improvement
4. Substitute risk and cost benefit analysis for the precautionary principle
5. Focus on incentives via property rights
6. Embrace environmentally friendly technology
7. Eliminate public sector conflicts of interest by separating resource ownership from regulation

Environment

Surviving Sustainability is a comprehensive new series of papers of the Frontier Center for Public Policy, and an area of research that is only sporadically treated in public policy analysis. This oversight means that a substantial negative impact on our economic health and civic well-being has been obscured.

When looking at the power and actions of the environmental movement, most analysts concentrate on climate change and energy issues. However, the movement reaches farther, and it has rearranged, with little notice, almost everything dealing with the physical elements of modern life: resource use, land use, development, building, endangered species protection, regulations with regard to air, food and water. Few...

The collapse and subsequent moratorium on Atlantic cod has had profound economic, political, and sociological consequences in Atlantic Canada. Following the 1992 moratorium, the federal government transferred billions of dollars to Atlantic fishers to compensate for the rise in unemployment. It has since failed to reform fisheries management in Atlantic Canada, where unemployment remains persistently higher than the remainder of the country.

Despite several exogenous factors that contributed to the decline of Atlantic Canada’s cod stock, the federal government’s mismanagement of the country’s fisheries effectively in the years preceding the 1992 moratorium also played a crucial role. More disturbing, however,...

Executive Summary

Canadians view the protection and preservation of the natural environment as one of the most important functions of their governments.

This paper provides an overview of the major developments in Canada’s environmental performance over the past several decades. We examine major indicators of environmental sustainability in a range of different areas including conventional air pollution, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and water pollution with the objective of identifying important trends and assessing whether Canada’s natural environment is generally becoming more or less healthy over time.

Our review shows that despite a considerable amount of rhetoric suggesting otherwise, Canadians have...

Executive Summary

Farms and ranches produce not only the familiar agricultural goods but also such ecological goods and services as healthy watersheds, wildlife habitat and wildlife. While farmers and ranchers are paid for their agricultural products, there has traditionally been no market for their ecological goods and services. This is a matter of concern when economic pressures, often rooted in urban centres, degrade the capacity of landscapes that are needed to produce ecological goods and services for those same urban centres. Several mechanisms have been devised to provide financial returns for the...

Polar Bear Propaganda

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then it can also be used to tell a bigger lie. In this case, of the 29 words used to describe the scene depicted in the photograph, eight of them are emotional: “very sad”, “hapless”, “clinging”, “whatever is left” and “home”. This should alert readers to the fact that they are being manipulated with baseless propaganda.

Polar bears commonly seek high points for a better view. In this image, they were simply observing a cruise ship carrying the tourist who took...

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When the slight global warming that occurred between 1970 and 2000 came to a virtual standstill, the doomsayers adopted “climate change” which apparently means that all extreme weather events are caused by human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO²). Cold, hot, wet, dry, wind, snow, and large hailstones are attributed to humanity’s profligate use of fossil fuels.

But the pause in global warming kept on and became embarrassing around 2005. Something dire was needed to prop up the climate disruption narrative. “Ocean acidification” was invented to provide yet another apocalyptic scenario, only this one required no warming or severe weather, only...

Rajendra Pachauri, one of the world's most famous climate officials, is being investigated under three sections of the Indian Penal Code relating to sexual assault, harassment, and stalking. He has resigned as longtime chairman of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), resigned from the Indian Prime Minister's climate council, and has been disinvited from speaking at a conference at Harvard University.

Currently on leave from The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the New Delhi-based entity he has led for three decades, Pachauri has been banned by the courts from entering TERI facilities and from contacting anyone who works...

As the federal election looms, a hailstorm of criticism is being launched against the Harper government’s failure on environmental issues.  Already the media has informed us that we are not protecting our caribou and that Canada is an international pariah with regard to the protection of endangered species.  The Sixth Great Extinction looms; our water and air are threatened.  Our grandchildren will live on a blasted heath, etc.

Unlike climate change, the notion of the Sixth Great Extinction is not contested vigorously or even examined dispassionately by anyone in the public arena.  All reporting contains an element of alarm, if...

We are all genetically modified organisms (GMOs), all 7.1 billion of us and every other creature on earth produced by sexual reproduction.  We are all a random combination of our mother’s and father’s genes and are therefore genetically unique modifications. Only identical clones are not genetically modified.

I point this out because the now negatively loaded term “genetically modified” has been misused, abused, and confused to describe recombinant DNA biotechnology, one of the most important advances in the 10,000-year history of agriculture.

Throw in Frankenstein Foods, Killer Tomatoes, and Terminator Seeds, all titles borrowed from scary Hollywood fantasies, and you...

This month, Canada’s Green Party leader Elizabeth May published “Who We Are, Reflections on My Life and Canada”.  It is an important book, because May is an energetic power broker in Ottawa, the provinces and abroad.  Responsible for many powerful environmental regulations which too often, choked local economies, she has more plans for Canada; plans which given her past successes urgently require examination.  She may be a party of one, but as she has often said, her special skill is to work with all the parties to see ever more environmental regulation enforced. 

There are many things May seems to...

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Toronto, Canada, August 10, 2012: “We tend to hear nothing but alarming messages about the current status and future welfare of Polar Bears from animal advocates of all kinds, including lobby groups and activist scientists,” said University of Victoria Adjunct Professor in Anthropology Dr. Susan J. Crockford who is speaking on August 14 at the University of Toronto. “Many of these tales of imminent doom, however, have important facts left out, glossed over or misrepresented - and much of the uncertainty in the underlying research has been downplayed.”   “It is still not known for certain when...

Winnipeg, May 4, 2012:  The Frontier Centre released today a paper entitled The Green Plague: How Biofuels Are Damaging the Environment.  Authored by Frontier’s student intern Eric Merkley, the study examines some of the unintended consequences of large-scale biofuel production and, specifically, its impact on the natural environment.

Governments in many economically advanced countries heavily subsidize the production of biofuels. The justification of such subsidies is often that biofuels are a comparatively “green” source of energy. However, the evidence suggests that biofuels may in fact create significant environmental problems. Examples discussed in the paper include:

  • The production
  • ...

Winnipeg: The Frontier Centre for Public Policy today released The Economic, Environmental and Political Consequences of Carbon Pricing. Using eight case studies from around the world, the paper examines the consequences of ambitious carbon pricing policies and proposals. The case studies suggest that the international experience with carbon pricing has, for the most part, been unsuccessful. In many instances, the projected negative economic effects provoked strong political opposition, which either blocked implementation completely or caused key participants to withdraw.

Findings:

Eric Merkley, Ben Eisen and Kenneth Green examine the economic, environmental and political effect of ambitious carbon pricing policies and...

Ottawa, Canada, December 13, 2011: “The Canadian Government’s decision to formally withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol is an important victory for common sense and one we hope all Canadians will applaud,” said Tom Harris, executive director of ICSC which is headquartered in Ottawa, Canada. “The Protocol is based on an incorrect interpretation of the science of climate change and should never have been ratified by Canada, or any other country.”

ICSC chief science advisor, Professor Bob Carter of James Cook University in Queensland, Australia agrees, “By quitting Kyoto, the Canadian Government has set...

Winnipeg: The Frontier Centre for Public Policy today released The Myth of North American Carbon Reduction Laggards. This policy study examines trends in population growth, economic performance and greenhouse gas emissions in North America and Europe over the past 20 years. The authors re-examine the dominant narrative of North American poor performance in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reductions, and find that when population and economic growth are taken into account, the performance gap between Europe and North America diminishes considerably. The authors conclude that emissions trends in affluent jurisdictions have been driven largely by international trade patterns and...

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Tomorrow, March 29th 2014, between 8:30pm and 9:30pm, we'll be celebrating Human Achievement Hour.

This one-hour event coincides with Earth Hour, an annual event where governments, businesses and individuals dim or shut off lights in an effort to raise awareness about pollution. In contrast, Human Achievement Hour (HAH) promotes human prosperity.

Human Achievement Hour is a period of time during which one shows appreciation for human accomplishments by engaging in capitalist acts between consenting adults. For example, going out shopping, or using electricity or indoor plumbing.

“We salute the people who keep the lights on and produce the energy that...

Huy Fong has been ordered to cease any odor emitting production by a California judge. This could lead to a shortage of their wildly popular Sriracha hot sauce. While foodies are upset, residents who sought the injunction against Huy Fong appear to have a legitimate complaint. Odors from grinding chilis appears to have caused many residents to experience headaches, sore throats, burning eyes, and other health issues. Assuming that Huy Fong production is leading to these problems, some sort of action should be taken to deal with the externalities. While a regulatory approach is the simplest solution, a non-regulatory approach...

Some interesting news south of the border. This piece by the Montana-based Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) tells it all. 

Apparently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has imposed new regulations on the coal industry that are basically guaranteeing that new plants are not built.

The regulations impose limits on carbon dioxide emissions from new coal-fired generation plants. 

The piece mentions that Native American reservations contain 30 per cent of the country's coal reserves, west of the Mississippi. 

These energy reserves, however, remain largely untapped. The Council of Energy Resource Tribes, a tribal energy consortium, estimates the value of these...

Deep-pocketed environmentalist organizations, such as Greenpeace, are continuing to attack genetically-modified golden rice in Asian countries, despite its proven ability to combat Vitamin A deficiency.

This new column mentions how mainly urban activists have physically destroyed a field trial of genetically modified rice in the Philippines.

Anti-GMO activists spread misinformation regarding the health effects of the rice, to the detriment of the children who go blind due to Vitamin A deficiency. Half of them die within 12 months.

Activists need to be truthful in their claims. They also need to begin acknowledging the health benefits of genetically modified...

A new and interesting op-ed confirms once again that renewable energy is not working in Europe.

European governments are moving away from renewable energy subsidies. The European Union in fact is quietly rolling back its renewable energy agenda.

This op-ed's research confirms a 2011 Frontier Centre study that found that experiments with renewable energy in Europe have led to net job losses, higher energy prices, and widespread corruption.

The experience of "green jobs" is they merely replace jobs in other sectors and contribute less to economic growth.

Canadian policy makers should look to the example of Europe before...

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Political leaders around the world have now spent more than two decades setting targets for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide that no one has any realistic hope of achieving.

In the United Kingdom, emissions are being reduced at a rate of 1 percent per year.

To meet the country's target by 2022, that reduction will have to happen at a rate 4 to 5 times that.

Germany, which is building new coal-fired power plants, will also miss its 2020 emissions target.

Alternatives like solar and wind are simply not able to produce enough reasonably-priced, reliable energy that's necessary for an...

Beginning next year, Manitoba will begin enforcing a province-wide ban on most uses of synthetic weed killers and other commercial pesticides.

All private yards and most public green spaces, such as sports fields, will be affected by the ban.

More expensive, and generally less effective alternative pesticides will still be allowed.

The legislation will be very costly for municipalities. Steinbach currently spends about 16,000 dollars to eliminate weeds in public spaces.

Next year they expect that cost to jump to 200,000 dollars.

Many are questioning whether the health benefits will really be worth the extra cost.

They point out that...

When it comes to climate change, politicians and activists often point to climate models in support of their preferred approach to the issue, such as those who favour carbon taxes.

Climate models are a virtual version of our planet, using powerful computers to project future climate trends.

The models use data and physical principles to represent various components, such as the oceans, land surfaces, atmosphere, and cloud movements.

However, there is growing scepticism about the overall reliability of some of the data, such as temperature records, on which these climate models rely.

There are also differing views on the understanding...

The controversy continues over hydraulic fracturing, or 'fracking' , to enhance recovery of oil and gas.

Some places, such as France and the state of New York, have banned fracking because of fears that it might harm ground water, or possibly cause an earthquake.

Meanwhile, much of the world continues to rely heavily on coal as a source of energy.

Coal mining is more dangerous than fracking, and the burning of coal produces harmful emissions, including mercury and sulfur dioxide.

Fracking has been around for decades, but it can now be done horizontally and not just vertically.

This is positive...

Australia has recently abolished what some have called the “world’s biggest carbon tax”.

It was designed to combat climate change by reducing emissions of carbon dioxide that result from the burning of fossil fuels.

Companies who produced emissions that exceeded a certain threshold were required to pay a hefty tax.

The Australian legislation was highly unpopular because the companies who were subject to it, simply passed the cost on to their customers and hurt the local economy.

Greenhouse gas emissions have been on the decline in Australia, but there is no consensus that the carbon tax is the reason.

Coal...

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This article was written by Robert W. Murray and Christopher Sands and originally appeared in The National Interest.

In his history of popular culture and the U.S. presidency, What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched and Obama Tweeted, Tevi Troy relates an anecdote about a White House meeting between then-president Richard Nixon and rock ‘n’ roll sensation Elvis Presley. Elvis came to the meeting "dressed in a purple jumpsuit and a white shirt open to the navel with a big gold chain and thick rimmed sunglasses" prompting Nixon to comment, "You dress kind of strange, don't you?"

Elvis replied simply, "You...

Sea levels are rising rapidly! Coastal communities are becoming more vulnerable to storms and storm surges! Small island nations are going to disappear beneath the waves!

Climate alarmists have been making these claims for years, trying to tie them to events like “Superstorm” Sandy, which was below Category 1 hurricane strength when it struck New York City in October 2012, and Typhoon Haiyan, which plowed into the low-lying central Philippines in November 2013. 

For alarmists, it does not seem to matter that the strength and frequency of tropical storms have been decreasing in recent years, while the rate of sea...

Paul Driessen and Dennis Mitchell

Earth’s geological, archaeological and written histories are replete with climate changes: big and small, short and long, benign, beneficial, catastrophic and everything in between.

The Medieval Warm Period (950-1300 AD or CE) was a boon for agriculture, civilization and Viking settlers in Greenland. The Little Ice Age that followed (1300-1850) was calamitous, as were the Dust Bowl and the extended droughts that vanquished the Anasazi and Mayan cultures; cyclical droughts and floods in Africa, Asia and Australia; and periods of vicious hurricanes and tornadoes. Repeated Pleistocene Epoch ice ages covered much of North America, Europe...

Joel Kotkin, newgeography, October 28, 2013

 

Historically, progressives were seen as partisans for the people, eager to help the working and middle classes achieve upward mobility even at expense of the ultrarich. But in California, and much of the country, progressivism has morphed into a political movement that, more often than not, effectively squelches the aspirations of the majority, in large part to serve the interests of the wealthiest.

Primarily, this modern-day program of class warfare is carried out under the banner of green politics. The environmental movement has always been primarily dominated by the wealthy, and overwhelmingly white,...

According to the conventional wisdom of just a few years ago, Tony Abbott should never have become prime minister of Australia. The doyens of the press gallery had marked him as a right-wing throwback to a bygone era.

After all, Mr. Abbott is skeptical about alarmist claims of man-made global warming. He is a former Catholic seminarian who opposes abortion and same-sex marriage. His gaffes-he recently said a female parliamentary candidate had "sex appeal"-have provided fodder for left-leaning satirists. He is an Anglophile, a former Oxford boxing blue, and an unashamed constitutional monarchist who sides with America in...

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