New Publications, January 2008

Monday, January 14, 2008 1:46:37 AM



Steven Bernstein, Jutta Brunnée, David Duff, and Andrew Green (editors). 2008.  A Globally Integrated Climate Policy for Canada. University of Toronto Press. 352 pages. (www.utppublishing.com)

Canada has been an engaged participant in global climate change negotiations since the late 1980s. Until recently, Canadian policy seemed to be driven in large part by a desire to join in multilateral efforts to address climate change. By contrast, current policy is seeking a ‘made in Canada’ approach to the issue. Recent government-sponsored analytic efforts as well as the government’s own stated policies have been focused almost entirely on domestic regulation and incentives, domestic opportunities for technological responses, domestic costs, domestic carbon markets, and the setting of a domestic carbon ‘price’ at a level that sends the appropriate marketplace signal to produce needed reductions.

A Globally Integrated Climate Policy for Canada builds on the premise that Canada is in need of an approach that effectively integrates domestic priorities and global policy imperatives. Leading Canadian and international experts explore policy ideas and options from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including science, law, political science, economics, and sociology. Chapters explore the costs, opportunities, or imperatives to participate in international diplomatic initiatives and regimes, the opportunities and impacts of regional or global carbon markets, the proper mix of domestic policy tools, the parameters of Canadian energy policy, and the dynamics that propel or hinder the Canadian policy process.

This book contains papers prepared for the November 1-2, 2007 conference that took place at the University of Toronto (see online co-written article by Jutta Brunnée).

Steven Bernstein is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, U of T. Jutta Brunnée is a Professor and holds the Metcalf Chair in Environmental Law in the Faculty of Law, U of T. David Duff and Andrew Green are Associate Professor and Assistant Professor, respectively, in the Faculty of Law, U of T.

 

Jing M. Chen, Sean C. Thomas, Yongyuan Yin. 2007. Carbon Sequestration in China's Forest Ecosystems, Special Issue of Journal of Environmental Management. 85 (3), pages 513-790. (www.elsevier.com; also available online at http://www.sciencedirect.com)

This special issue of the Journal of Environmental Management provides results from the CIDA-funded project, “Confronting Global Warming: Enhancing China's Carbon Sequestration”, led by Professor Jing Chen of the Department of Geography, U of T. This four-year project, completed in 2006, was in partnership with U of T’s Centre for Environment, Department of Geography, and Faculty of Forestry, Environment Canada and seven Chinese Academy of Sciences affiliated research institutions. It applied Canadian modeling and remote sensing technology to understanding the role of land-use change in China’s carbon cycle. Its goal was to help the global effort of reducing net greenhouse gas emissions by enhancing China’s capacity to sequester carbon in natural sinks, thereby supporting environmentally sustainable development. University of Toronto project team members included Rorke Bryan, John Caspersen, and Sean Thomas of the Faculty of Forestry; Mingzhen Chen, Danny Harvey, Virginia Maclaren, and Rodney White of Geography.

Jing M. Chen is a Professor in the Department of Geography, U of T. Sean Thomas is a Professor in the Faculty of Forestry, U of T. Yongyuan Yin is with the Adaptation and Impacts Research Division, Environment Canada.

 

Peter M. Clarkson, Yue Li, Gordon D. Richardson, Florin P. Vasvari. Revisiting the relation between environmental performance and environmental disclosure: an empirical analysis. Accounting, Organizations and Society (In press; available online at www.rotman.utoronto.ca/greenaccounting.pdf or at http://www.sciencedirect.com/)

Previous empirical evidence provides mixed results on the relationship between corporate environmental performance and the level of environmental disclosures. This relation was revisited in a University of Toronto study by testing competing predictions from economics based and socio-political theories of voluntary disclosure using a more rigorous research design. In particular, the study focused on purely discretionary environmental disclosures and developed a content analysis index based on the Global Reporting Initiative sustainability reporting guidelines to assess the extent of discretionary disclosures in environmental and social responsibility reports. This index better captures firm disclosures related to its commitment to protect the environment than the indices employed by prior studies. Using a sample of 191 firms from the five most polluting industries in the U.S., a positive association was found between environmental performance and the level of discretionary environmental disclosures. The result is consistent with the predictions of the economics disclosure theory but inconsistent with the negative association predicted by socio-political theories. Nevertheless, it was found that socio-political theories explain patterns in the data (‘‘legitimization’’) that cannot be explained by economics disclosure theories.

Yue Li and Gordon Richardson are Professors in the Joseph Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Peter Clarkson is a Professor at the UQ Business School, University of Queensland, Australia and Faculty of Business Administration, Simon Fraser University, B.C., Canada. Florin Vasvari is an Assistant Professor in the London Business School, University of London, London, UK.

 

Nick Eyles and Andrew Miall. 2007. Canada Rocks: The Geologic Journey, Fitzhenry & Whiteside Publishing, 450 pages. (http://www.fitzhenry.ca/)

Canada Rocks is a portrait of what the authors describe as the incredible 4 billion year “construction project” that gave shape to the continents, mountains, and oceans of planet Earth, and created the world's second largest country - Canada. The book explores that incredible history through modern day sites and land shapes created in our distant past, for example: rocks in Point Pleasant Park in Halifax that were once part of Morocco and left behind when the Atlantic Ocean came into being; Arctic regions formerly part of what today is Siberia; and fossils in a road cut in Cache Creek, British Columbia that once lived in a sea that covered China. The violent collisions of continents and other land masses, the growth and decay of enormous mountain ranges, the impact of meteorites, and the comings and goings of vast ice sheets are explored, as is the creation of our rocky resources from coal to diamonds.

Nick Eyles and Andrew Miall are Professors in the Department of Geology at the University of Toronto.

 

Sonia Labatt and Rodney R. White. 2007. Carbon Finance: The Financial Implications of Climate Change. Jon Wiley & Sons, U.S. 288 pages. (http://www.wiley.com/)

This book provides a comprehensive guide to the financial implications of living in a carbon-constrained world – a world in which emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases can sometimes carry a hefty price. Opening with a brief introduction to the Kyoto Protocol and the policies that shape a carbon-constrained society, this book also outlines the carbon finance marketplace, and explains the speed with which it has developed and the complexity of its growth. The authors also explores specific products – those designed to cover environmental risks associated with climate change – for Alternative Risk Transfer, the entire energy chain and its relationship to today's value chain, the fiduciary duty of institutional investors as they assess the financial effects of climate change within the investment community, and key mechanisms created through the Kyoto Protocol and the experience of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme.

Sonia Labatt is an Associate Member of the Centre for Environment’s graduate faculty. Rodney White is a Professor of Geography and former Director of the Institute for Environmental Studies (now Centre for Environment) at the University of Toronto.

 

Scott W. Prudham. Tall among the trees: organizing against globalist forestry in rural British Columbia. Journal of Rural Studies 24 (2) (In press.)

This journal article is concerned with tracking and interpreting the formation of a worker-based non-governmental organization arising in response to the 2001 closure of a sawmill in Youbou (near Duncan), British Columbia, Canada. The mill was closed under mysterious and controversial circumstances, precipitating resistance by unionized workers who were threatened with job-loss. The group persisted, gradually broadening its scope to address systemic features of forest governance in the province, including issues such as tenure, forest practices, low value added and mass commodity production, and production relations. This has occurred in part through its networking with other NGOs, including environmental groups and First Nations. The author examines the group’s political trajectory and its struggle to contribute to a viable alternative to business-as-usual, globalist forestry in BC. He argues that the group invokes Karl Polanyi’s notion of the double movement as a way of understanding how markets are socially and politically embedded specifically in relation to the politics of commodified labour and land, and that this is highly germane to contemporary debates about globalization. However, he also argues that the group demonstrates some of the limits to Polanyi’s thinking, particularly evident with regard to the challenges that such groups face in “jumping scale” to transcend the social and environmental particularities of their own place-based struggles. He turns to Gramscian inspired insights about the character of hegemony and counter-hegemony in order to reflect on this specific challenge and to echo the need to pay attention to groups such as this one as they work toward formulation of a successful, counter-hegemonic trajectory of globalization.

Scott Prudham is an Associate Professor in the Department of Geography and the Centre for Environment, University of Toronto.