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Canada to introduce carbon tax, with a potential boom for the Canadian economy


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Canada Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has announced the implementation of a carbon-tax staring from 2019. This initiative is in line with its campaign pledge made in 2015. Canada, part of the Paris Agreement, committed to reducing its carbon pollution by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. Before the introduction of the carbon tax, however, its measure to reduce emissions were judged as highly insufficient, set to reach only a 4% reduction of carbon pollution levels below 2005 by 2030.
As a consequence of the introduction of the carbon tax in the whole country, energy price will rise.
Gasoline, for example, will reach an 8% price increase in 2022. The price of coal, instead, would more than double. Canada, however, already makes an extensive use of renewable energies, supplying around 60% of its needs in energy from hydroelectric generation. Only 20-25% of its energy comes from fossil fuels, so the energy sector would not be the most affected by the new measures. It is, in fact, the industrial sector which is responsible for about 40% of Canada carbon pollution.
The Government understood that covering the costs caused by climate change is much more expensive, mostly considering health and property damages costs caused by extreme weather events.
As stated in an article on the Guardian, it is estimated that, since, taxed money will be distributed to the province that generated them and 90% of revenues will be given back to taxpayers by means of rebates, the increased energy cost will be more than offset by the rebates for 70% of Canadian households.
Studies say this approach can boost the economy since disposable income increases.
A few Canadian provinces in the past already adopted carbon pricing systems and the government realized that they were among the top performers in GDP.

Latest data on Plastic island status


The results of the three-year study on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) – carried out by 16 international researchers and published by the Journal Scientific Reports – have revealed the true proportions and composition of the plastic island, which is currently floating in the oceans. As a matter of fact, the researchers have confirmed that the GPGP is composed of approximately 80 million kilograms of floating plastic debris of various size and shape, consisting mainly of Polyethylene and Polypropylene, and it covers an area 3 times the size of continental France. Experts have highlighted the urgency of finding a solution to address the situation, especially by analyzing the results regarding the concentration of microplastics in the area –1.8 trillion pieces – which is estimated to further increase by 30 times for a total of about 50 trillion particles. Lastly, researchers have emphasized the necessity to act rapidly, by implementing substantial international measures in the coming decade, with the aim of halting the increasing inflow of plastic waste into the oceans. In addition to that, they have suggested supporting removal initiatives, such as coastal and ocean cleanups, for existing plastics that accumulate in the oceans and threaten the welfare of the marine fauna.

Plastic: The increasing level of oceans’ pollution


According to a study published by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in 2050 there will be more plastic than fish (by weight) in the oceans. The always-increasing phenomenon of oceanic pollution caused by plastic has started to alarm governments and environmental associations, so much so that Lisa Svensson – Coordinator of the UNEP (United Nation Environment Programme) for Marine and Coastal Ecosystems- has included this phenomenon among the “global crises”. As a matter of fact, more than 8 million tonnes of plastic are released into the sea every year, bottles, packaging and other waste. In response to this critical situation, many countries have started to develop laws to abolish the use of disposable packaging and products largely made of plastic. Among those Italy that, following the abolition of plastic bags in supermarkets, has also extended this ban to bags used in the retail sale of fruit and vegetables, replacing them by biodegradable ones.

European Union’s plastic waste strategy: 100% recycling by 2030


The European Commission declares war against plastic waste. The new plan for the complete recycling of plastic packaging by 2030 includes a clearer labelling to distinguish compostable and biodegradable polymers, rules for the separate collection of waste on ships, and waste management in ports. The strategy aims to reduce the 25 million tons of plastic waste produced per year in Europe, by increasing the share of plastic residues destined to recycling and reuse, which is today only 30% of the total. At the moment, a significant portion of this percentage is eventually treated by third markets, such as China, which has, however, announced a crackdown on the import of plastic waste. All plastic packaging placed on the EU market must be designed to be reusable and recyclable by 2030. In order to reach the set-goal, the Commission intends to review the legislative requirements for placing of the packaging on the market. New fundings are foreseen as a support to this strategy and spending will be mainly on research and development, with 100 million euros invested by 2020. Finally, the intentionally used microplastics will move towards a total ban, while the measures to reduce unintentional ones, such as tire wear rubber particles or polyester and nylon residues, released into washing waters, are still under study.

Global Risks Report WEF: the huge climate risk


Extreme climatic events (typhoons, heatwaves, and floods), natural disasters, ecosystem collapse with loss in biodiversity, human inability to mitigate the effects of global warming: environmental risks are the most alarming topic under discussion. This is what has emerged for the second consecutive year from the global Risks Report, published by the World Economic Forum on occasion of the last meeting in Davos. It is interesting to notice how the perception of risk has changed over the last ten years: during the period 2008-2010, the economy and the geopolitics were the unknowns that dominated the scene. On the contrary, from 2011 onwards, the environmental issues have gained the first place, with a peak of concern recorded between 2017 and 2018. Climatic change is ultimately changing the risk management strategies of big companies and of public-private institutions all around the world. In particular, many energy utilities are aware that in a few years they could lose huge profits due to the obsolete and no longer profitable existing infrastructure, such as coal-fired power plants. As a result, the so-called “carbon risk”, the financial risk associated with global pollution and CO 2 emissions, is gaining increasing importance in the investment decisions of banks, governments and fund managers.