Gas guzzler

The former senior advisor to Canada's natural gas delivery lobby has been hired as a member of the provincial government's climate action secretariat, Public Eye has learned. Late last month, secretariat head Graham Whitmarsh quietly announced Robert Joshi - who was recently employed by the Canadian Gas Association - has been named one of the Campbell administration's two climate policy executive directors. And he'll have specific responsibility for leading the government's consultations with the oil and gas industry, as well as "carrying out economic and analytical analysis" of its "targets and policies." But, before environmentalists raise their eyebrows about Mr. Joshi's appointment, they might want to take a read of a column he wrote for the National Post this past January.

In that column, he suggested the heavy-hand of regulation should be part of Canada's global warming strategy. The reason: thanks to the introduction of tighter federal efficiency standards, "the energy use for all our fridges combined in 2004 was 27 per cent lower than in 1990." So why not use similar standards to shrink the automobile sector's environmental footprint?

But "before government thinks it can wave a magic regulatory wand in the face of powerful political opponents, it requires a sense of realism," he continued. "If the regulations are pushed too hard, they run ahead of the technology and cost consumers a lot more money or reduce performance." Still, he added, "sometimes, markets need a push to get things done. When the goal is as important as mitigating climate change and cleaning the air we breathe, a firm shove is justified." The following is a complete copy of the aforementioned announcement, as well as Mr. Joshi's column.

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From: Rossner, Amber N PREM:EX On Behalf Of Whitmarsh, Graham PREM:EX
Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2007 5:29 PM

Subject: New team members joining the Climate Action Secretariat

I am very pleased to announce that the following new team members are joining the Climate Action Secretariat. There were many highly qualified candidates, both local and international, who expressed interest in the Climate Action Secretariat and these were the successful applicants in a very competitive process.

These individuals bring a wealth of experience and energy and will begin work immediately to support the Government's climate change commitments.

Please join me in congratulating the following members of the Climate Action Secretariat on their appointments:

Warren Bell, Executive Director Climate Change Policy
Nichola Wade, Executive Director for Carbon Neutral Government
Tim Lesiuk, Executive Director Climate Policy
Robert Joshi, Executive Director Climate Policy
Louise Comeau, Executive Director Public Outreach and Strategic Engagement
Lawrence Alexander, Special Advisor
Melanie Stewart, Director of Research
Steve Anderson, Executive Director, Climate Change and Intergovernmental Relations
Julie Turner, Executive Coordinator.

Please read the attached document for further information on each member of the Secretariat.

Sincerely,

Graham Whitmarsh,
Head, Climate Action Secretariat.

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Warren Bell will be joining the Climate Action Secretariat on August 20th as the Executive Director Climate Change Policy. Mr. Bell will be responsible for policy coordination and support for the Cabinet's Committee on Climate Action and the Climate Action Plan. He will also coordinate communications between CCCA and ministries, manage the climate policy legislation and design and manage performance metrics and targets.

Warren Bell brings an extensive tenure of 18 years' experience with the BC Public Sector. Most recently, Warren joins the Secretariat from a secondment to the Deputy Minister's Policy Secretariat as a Special Advisor on Climate Change. Both through Government work and personal endeavours, Warren has over 20 years of experience in dealing with energy and climate change issues, policies and programs. Outside of his "day job," Warren maintains the position of President, Raincoast Resources, a consulting company that specializes in providing strategic support to Canadian corporate and government clients in the areas of climate change, energy and sustainability. Trained as an energy & environmental economist, Warren is also an Associate with the International Institute for Sustainable Development.
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Nichola Wade will join the Secretariat on the 20th of August as the Executive Director for Carbon Neutral Government. Her responsibilities will extend to cover Hospitals, Schools, Universities, and Municipalities, as well as public sector green buildings and the overall greening of the public sector.

Nichola joins us from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, where she held the position of Director, Service Sector and Partnerships for the past 4 years. Nichola brings to the Secretariat 16 years' senior level service to the Public Sector. Recognized for her work in Public Service at the 2006 Women of Distinction awards, Nichola brings expertise in project and issues management, strategic planning and dispute management to this position.
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As Executive Director Climate Policy, Tim Lesiuk will head the negotiations with the Western Climate Initiative, a growing partnership of eight western provinces and states including British Columbia, Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Washington, Utah and Manitoba, that have established aggressive goals to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, adopted California tailpipe standards, participate in a cross-border GHG registry, and are working together on a regional GHG cap and trade system. In addition to leading policy development for the cap and trade and offsets program, Mr. Lesiuk will lead the consultation with large final emitters in British Columbia upon his start with the secretariat on August 20th.

Tim brings with him extensive experience in leading local, national and international climate change and sustainability initiatives. He has invested 10 years in developing solutions to climate change risks and advancing climate action as an economic and market opportunity. Most recently, in the position of Sustainability Specialist, Climate Change Management with BC Hydro, Tim played import leadership roles in many organizations, committees and boards focused on greenhouse gas accounting and reporting, offsets, energy, and sustainability.
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Robert Joshi will join the Secretariat as Executive Director Climate Policy. As of September 10th, his responsibilities will include leading the consultation the oil & gas industry and carrying out economic and analytical analysis of targets and policies. Mr. Joshi will also manage the disbursement of the EcoTrust Funds.

During his time as a Senior Advisor with the Canadian Gas Association, Robert gained broad experience in climate change policy and GHG emissions analysis. In joining the Climate Action Secretariat, Robert will contribute his knowledge of policy instruments such as targeted funding, efficiency regulations, cap and trade systems and polluter-pay fees, combined with an innate understanding of the relationship between energy, the environment and the economy.
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As Executive Director Public Outreach and Strategic Engagement, Louise Comeau will lead the government's public outreach and engagement campaign, including public sector employees, municipalities and the general public. Ms. Comeau will also be responsible for the Citizen's Conservation Council. She starts with the Climate Action Secretariat on August 20th.

Louise began her 15 year tenure in the field of climate action in 1992 when she joined Canada's first campaign team on climate change. She has since worked for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and, most recently, at the Sage Centre in Ottawa, where her work with climate protection, sustainable energy systems and sustainable community development has continued under her role as Director, Sage Climate Project. Now, with the Climate Action Secretariat, Louise returns to solutions work and a focus aimed at engaging with citizens in personal lifestyle changes that build sustainable communities and cut GHG while improving quality of life. Louise is currently completing her Master's in Environmental Education and Communication at Royal Roads University.
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As Special Advisor on the Secretariat, Lawrence Alexander will lead policy development, coordination and consultation on Green Cities and Communities and the Green Buildings Strategy. Mr. Alexander will manage the Carbon Trust and develop policy on water use in British Columbia. He will also lead the coordination with VANOC and manage the Carbon Trust.

Lawrence Alexander is a solicitor working in the Office of the Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Legal Services Branch, Ministry of Attorney General. He advises the Premier's office on sustainability issues including Climate Change and the 2010 Olympics, and will extend this role to the Climate Action Secretariat. Lawrence brings with him 12 year practice in environment and land use law (focus on law reform) and 3.5 years experience as a public servant in a BC central government agency.
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Melanie Stewart will be joining the Secretariat as the Director of Research, effective August 20th. She will be responsible for all research and policy support work needed to create and implement the Climate Action Plan and all climate action policy.

Melanie joins the Climate Action Secretariat from the Ministry of Small Business and Revenue, where she has been acting as Manager, Small Business Secretariat. Along with a PhD in Political Science, Melanie's strong academic background in research and policy set a firm foundation for her new role as Director of Research. She has taught Political Science and Communications at York University, the University of Victoria, and Royal Roads University. Her specific experience working on climate action issues and with academic and non governmental environmental research organizations in Toronto and Vancouver makes her an asset to this team. Melanie has also worked as the Managing Editor for Women and Environments International magazine as well as Director for the Women's Health and Environment Network.
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Steve Anderson will be joining the Climate Action Secretariat as the Executive Director, Climate Change and Intergovernmental Relations, on August 27. Mr. Anderson will lead negotiations and policy coordination for intergovernmental initiatives on climate change. He will work collaboratively with other governments including federal, provincial, municipal and First Nations as well as in partnership with governors in California, Washington, and other Pacific Coast states to reduce net greenhouse gases in the Pacific Coast region and across Canada. Mr Anderson will also represent British Columbia on The Climate Registry, an international collaboration to develop and manage a common greenhouse gas emissions reporting system.

Steve Anderson has 13 years experience working in both the public and private sectors. He began his career in the Public Service at the former Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs and, prior to joining the Climate Action Secretariat, was most recently an Executive Director at the Ministry of Transportation where he led their Climate Action Program. Steve has represented the Ministry of Transportation on various Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) Committees and was also an Executive member of the Joint Emergency Liaison Committee, which is a partnership between local governments in the Lower Mainland and the Province to review cross-jurisdictional emergency planning. Along with an MA in Political Science and successfully completing programs at UBC's Sauder School of Business, Steve brings demonstrated experience and success in building strategic alliances, partnerships and relationships.
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Julie Turner will be joining the Secretariat as the Executive Coordinator on the 20th of August. Her duties will include: operational and issues coordination, key contact for the Secretariat, coordinating and tracking all climate action activities across government, managing the preparation of key Climate Action Secretariat documents, and helping to communicate information across government. Julie joins the Secretariat from the Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat where she worked as the Executive Coordinator.

Julie has over 20 years experience in the British Columbia public service and joins the Climate Action Secretariat from her position as Executive Coordinator to the Deputy Minister with Intergovernmental Relations. Previous roles include management and administrative positions in the Premier's Office and four ministries. Throughout her time in the Public Service, Julie has acted as a key liaison for cross-government Deputy Ministers' offices, developed operational strategies on a wide variety of sensitive issues with high political impact and was involved in the business transformation review and continuous improvement model which now reflects how IGR conducts business.

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Canada has a new environment minister in John Baird, and elected members of our Parliament will soon be meeting to change Bill C-30, the Conservatives' Clean Air Act. In a world of changing climate and smoggy air, the story of two well-known products - the car and the refrigerator - reveal a missed opportunity in energy policy that the Tories should keep in mind.

As a nation we use more and more energy in our cars, trucks and SUVs - call them all "cars" for brevity - and something needs to be done about it. There are more of us than there were in 1990, with more cars, and the cars are more powerful, so it's not surprising that we use more energy to run our powerful and growing car-herds, despite impressive advances in engine technology.

But must it follow that, because there are more cars with more power, we will use more energy to run them?

The refrigerator challenges this notion. In 2004 there were about four million more refrigerators than in 1990 - more people, more fridges. The fridges also got bigger and fancier. Does anyone remember those odd little fridges from our past? The fancy ones had a separate door to access the freezer section. Nowadays, a trip to the department store reveals that we have six-foot high, double-door behemoths with freezer drawers, icemakers and even optional television screens.

So, with more fridges and bigger fridges with extra gadgets, we use more energy to run them, right? According to Natural Resources Canada's Comprehensive Energy Use database, the energy use for all of our fridges combined in 2004 was 27 per cent lower than in 1990.

The technology improved so much and so fast that it offset population growth, increasing size, and then some. And, as a bonus, you can buy an odd little fridge - now highly efficient - for under $500.

A warning: Cars and fridges use vastly different technologies (just ask an engineer) and have different potentials for efficiency gains. But don't sell the analogy short.

Over the course of the 1990s, the Canadian government set increasingly tighter energy-efficiency standards for our fridges through the Energy Efficiency Act. This was not a new concept, and Canada did not go it alone - the United States and other countries were doing likewise - but nor did our government sit on its status quo.

Similarly, car "tailpipe" emissions of air pollutants have been successfully regulated since 1971, resulting in improved air quality in our cities. Cars did not, however, face mandatory and progressive efficiency regulations in Canada, and U.S. regulations stalled and were largely circumvented with the growing popularity of SUVs. Now look where we are.

Car energy use is up 16 per cent since 1990 (including SUVs); once again, fridge energy use is down 27 per cent (including ones with TV screens).

Before government thinks it can wave a magic regulatory wand in the face of powerful political opponents, it requires a sense a realism. If the regulations are pushed too hard, they run ahead of the technology and cost consumers a lot more money or reduce performance. (You didn't really need to go faster than 50 km/h, did you?)

Furthermore, if a country with a small market like, say, Canada goes it alone, similar problems occur.

With a sense of realism firmly in place, there is still an opportunity waiting for us. Hybrid cars and other highly efficient car models exist and are already mass-produced for markets around the world. Governments can push markets faster by setting a series of sensible, progressive and mandatory efficiency targets - much more aggressive than current proposals - while still basing regulations solely on existing mass-produced technology. No dreamy visions of futuristic efficiency are required.

Sometimes, markets need a push to get things done. When the goal is as important as mitigating climate change and cleaning the air we breathe, a firm shove is justified.

1 Comment

As anyone one who has actually regulated industry "on-the-ground" knows - the number one regulatory myth of the intellectual dilettante is the belief that regulation can drive technological change when in fact it is the other way round. Good to see that the Premier is continuing to replicate himself…

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