CLIMATE CHANGE, POLICY, AND LAW: WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE, AND HOW CAN IT BE ACHIEVED?

Date01 January 2020

Moderator: Lawrence L. Herman

Speaker: Martha Hall Findlay

Speaker: Commissioner Lana Pollack

Speaker: The Honorable John Godfrey

MR. HERMAN: Okay. Ladies and gentlemen, if we could resume please. All right. We will start our next panel, and leading into the discussion let me just say a couple things:

First of all, I want to thank Dean Michael Scharf and Case Western Law School for all they have done in supporting the Canada-U.S. Law Institute and with a tremendous team headed by Steve Petras, including Chi Carmody on the Canadian side and Ted Parran, I think they put together a wonderful program this year, and I am pleased to be part of it.

You know, one thing that should be understood is that, while we are called the Canada-U.S. Law Institute, we talk about things far beyond black letter law. We talk about policy issues concerning Canada and the United States, and I think that has to be appreciated by everybody; that it is not just a bunch of lawyers talking about statutes and regulations.

We deal with issues of policy that are timely and pertinent and need to be discussed. And we are unique. This is a bit of advertising, we are unique in the sense that I don't think there is any other institute that deals with Canada-U.S. issues as we do. So just tell your friends and if you are not members of the Institute, I urge you to take up the membership. It is a wonderful body. It has been around as we know since 1976, and we want to continue for another 40 or 50 years, if not more.

The other thing I should say, I am a stand-in. Chris Sands, who is the director of Canadian studies at John's Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies could not be here, largely as I understand it due to 737 issues. Transportation was just impossible to get him here on time.

Chris Sands is one of the most well-informed experts on Canada-U.S. relations, and I am humbled by being asked to stand in for Chris, but here I am.

So let me now talk about the panel. We have had a discussion already at high political levels, and now we are going to drill down a little bit and talk about certain specific laws, policies, instruments, that can be used to deal with climate related issues and we have a first class panel.

We couldn't be better served than having Martha Hall Findlay, Lana Pollack, and John Godfrey on the panel. Now, you've all got written material in front of you, so you know their detailed bios, but let me just introduce them very briefly.

Martha Hall Findlay, who I have known for many, many years, is a leader in public policy thinking in Canada. She has been a member of parliament, and she has had activities in the private sector as legal counsel in the information and technology business.

She now heads one of Canada's premier think tanks, the Canada West Foundation based in Calgary, and I might add that we are so pleased to have Western Canada represented here at our annual conference.

Next to her is Lana Pollack, again a leader in policy, someone who has served politically in the legislature, and as you heard from Jim Blanchard, who stole my lines a little bit, he often does in the legislature in emission, she has had a major role in policy development both in her state and at the national level, and she is now the Chair of the U.S. section of the International Joint Commission, an incredible institution formed by Canada and the United States in 1909, a groundbreaking body dealing with environmental boundary water related issues.

And when you think about it, well over a hundred years ago there was a bilateral body constituted by the two bodies to deal with common problems, and Lana will talk more about that in due course.

And finally, if I may, next to her is John Godfrey, who we heard last night and who kindly consented to do double duty today standing in for Joanna Dafoe, senior policy adviser in the environment industry who could not be here. John, in his biography, again someone who has served in government, a member of parliament and in the academic world, he was also editor of the Financial Post before entering politics, and he recently chaired the task force for the government of Ontario on environmental issues. So John, we are very pleased you are able to take up this double duty role this morning.

So let me start the discussion--and by the way, I should say each of the panelists has agreed to limit their formal remarks to ten to twelve minutes to allow us to have enough time for an exchange with the participants, with the audience, and I want the students particularly to feel free to ask questions.

In fact, we encourage the students to take an active role in the question period that we will have after the opening remarks of each of our panels. So that being said, let me start with Martha Hall Findlay and ask her for her opening comments.

Martha?

MS. FINDLAY: Terrific. Thank you very much, and thank you very much to the Canada-U.S. Law Institute. It is a real pleasure to be here. I don't get to do the lawyer part of my role very often, so I am very much looking forward to this and to the discussion with the audience, and I do thank you for noticing the Western piece.

I do really think it is really important even at home and in Canada and find it frustrating often a lot of these discussions don't, in fact, include different regions of the country, and as you know, it is a really big country because it is big like the one here in different perspectives and some are often important.

I actually changed my notes for this morning based on the earlier discussion and based on, John, your comments last night and, in particular, appreciated the emphasis on the opportunities for cities, for municipalities, and towns to be engaged. So I have brought it into three components.

One is a little bit of an optimistic piece that certainly from our perspective what is really changing things is not, in fact, government regulation, is not, in fact, specific approaches that are political or governmental or even legal, an awful lot of the change that is happening worldwide is happening because money talks.

And the more conversations that we have been having with the global investment community, particularly in energy, that's an area that we are involved in, so that happens to be a big part of the global investment community's focus, and frankly, Canada is not seen as a very good place to invest because a lot of our activities have been--in fact ground to a halt.

There are some environmental activists that might think that that's a really good thing because we are not actually able to export a number of our energy products the way we might like to, and we can talk about that in a minute. My point is, whether you agree or disagree, I am very positive and hopeful that what we are hearing from the investment community and, of course, they are reflecting not just the desires but increasingly the demands of their sources of money.

So pension funds, individual shareholders, consumers who drive behavior of that, in fact, then makes investment decisions because, of course, you want to invest in companies that are addressing the needs or desires of consumers. So that's one point I want to, make and I am very hopeful that a lot of change is happening because of money. And indeed, in the Canadian energy industry--and you know, there was some talk about it before, and I think Jim Blanchard pointed out that an awful lot of energy companies are, in fact, leading the way in renewable energy.

So it is a bit of an unknown thing and perhaps a bit counterintuitive, but money talks, and they know that the future is there as well, and so there is terrific investment in wind and solar and geothermal and in hydrogen and all sorts of really, really interesting things.

So what I would like to say--and that goes a bit to Peter's comments about the optimism around technology. Technology and technological innovation even in the Canadian Oil Sand has now brought oil sand oil to be lower in GHG emissions than California heavy crude, than the Venezuelan options that we are quite happy to import.

And so to the extent than even the oil coming from the Oil Sands, you might not like the fact that the world is using oil. We would love to actually see an alternative tomorrow, but that's not going to happen, and to the extent that the world is going to continue, like it or not, to use and consume fossil fuels, at least for the foreseeable number of decades, a few decades--don't get me wrong, we can all say we would love that not to be the case, but the reality is--and somebody asked the question last night, too--we have to recognize that there is energy poverty around the world, and it is a little rich, pardon the pun or maybe pun intended for the developing world to say it is okay, we have done all of this damage.

You can't have cheap and readily accessible energy because it happens to be fossil fuel based. And so to the extent that we are recognizing that that will still be the case, I am really excited that what's happening from a technological perspective in terms of reducing the footprint wherever we can in the context of realizing of what's happening in our consumption. But investment is driving those innovations.

It is interesting that companies are realizing that doing the right thing as in reducing greenhouse gas mission footprint is also lowering costs. And in juries, even in the last few years, the mindset and the realization that these are win-wins is really quite extraordinary and is going to continue at pace.

The next piece I wanted to talk about was, in fact, politics and where we have encountered a problem--and I have to say I quite a few years ago was part of an effort in Canadian politics to implement a federal carbon tax.

I had significant scars on my back from that effort because it became so politicized, and I now see--and let me just say we lived through a year and somewhere the slogan became job killing carbon tax, and it took hold. And it...

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