Carbon Tax Sets Tone for Toronto Sustainability Efforts

The Canadian Carbon Tax has more than economic ramifications.  It is part of interdependent issues affecting Toronto.

Canada has passed its revenue neutral carbon tax.  It may be high enough to meet climate targets, but will it cover social cost?  Toronto will benefit from Canada’s move because it is already experiencing climate-related, surprising heat waves and both droughts and flooding.  The legislation addresses risks to critical infrastructures and food security.  Between 2019 and 2022, gas prices will increase less than 10%, but the cost of coal will double, increasing demand for cheaper carbon-free electricity.

Fortunately, artificial intelligence will assist sustainability efforts by predicting weather patterns which affects energy load and farming, to name just two.  Entrepreneurs are bringing new AI technology to market as reported in CSE’s Sustainability (ESG) Reporting Trends: North America 2018.

As weather becomes less predictable, local sourcing is growing, but “sustainable” farming practices are being taken over by Agribusiness and may actually contribute to climate change. To get non-GMO yields equivalent to 1 acre of “regular” farming, research cautions may require more cleared land, even slash and burned.  Wise use of Canada’s existing farmlands, too often subsumed into suburbia, might help.  Another option is halophytes which grow on denuded lands, thrive on salt water and have long root systems which sequester carbon.

 Climate change will alter transportation dynamics, directly addressed by the carbon tax. As a tech hub, Toronto will see industry experimenting with significantly low-fuel and even no-fuel options.  Already social entrepreneurs are using congestion to their benefit to promote the use of electric scooters in dense urban settings.

No matter which side of the carbon tax one falls on – for or against – there is no doubt to the multiple ramifications to sustainability practitioners!  The legal team, Financial department, ERM (risk management), Procurement, communications, R&D, and investor relations are cross-organizational departments needing a sustainability expert, answering questions, leading programs and informing policy throughout the corporate structure.

The Centre for Sustainability and Excellence Certified Sustainability Practitioner Program (Advanced Edition 2019) offers trainings topics key to Toronto.  CSE does not pick focus topics arbitrarily. We listen to participants from past trainings and to participants enrolled for future trainings, such as extra SROI information presented at the 2018 Toronto training.  Want to inform the focus for Toronto?  Register now and let us know your thoughts.  CSE’s first Toronto training is April 11-12, 2019.

 

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