Carbon Pricing on Trial

The University of Ottawa’s Institute of the Environment will be hosting a panel on the constitutionality of Canada’s carbon pricing law, which Saskatchewan and Ontario have challenged. Three of the lawyers involved, including project member Nathalie Chalifour, who is acting as counsel for the United Chiefs of the Mnidoo Mnising, will discuss the recent hearing, the arguments and the implications of this landmark case.

The other panelists are:

  • Stewart Elgie, uOttawa Law professor, counsel for the Ecofiscal Commission

  • Josh Ginsberg, Director of the uOttawa-Ecojustice Law Clinic, counsel for David Suzuki Foundation


When: Wednesday, March 13, 11:30 AM – 1 PM
Where : Room 133, Fauteux Hall (Law Faculty), 57 Louis Pasteur, University of Ottawa

A light lunch will be served.

Twelve Years Left to Save the World!? Climate Change and the Future of Global Governance

Professor Nathalie Chalifour will be participating on a special panel on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Special Report 15: “Global Warming of 1.5℃ , presented by the Centre for International Policy Studies on February 28, 2019 from 10:30am-12:00pm at FSS4007, 120 University Private, University of Ottawa.

In the wake of the IPCC’s recently-released Special Report 15: Global Warming of 1.5℃ there has been a flood of reports in the popular media featuring some iteration of the following headline: “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN” (the latter from The Guardian, on October 8th, 2018). The report identifies the need for “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” in order to keep the world to within 1.5°C of warming from pre-industrial levels. CO2 emissions reduction curves in the report offer a stark visual of the drastic nature of behavioural change required of global civilization over the next number of years to limit the extent of damage to both human and natural systems.

Yet despite clearly laying out the scientific case for reducing CO2 emissions to net zero at some point in the next few decades, the report gives rise to a number of social, political and economic questions for policy-makers, climate policy researchers and concerned global citizens:

  • What is it exactly that global civilization has “twelve years left” to avert, and how ought we to confront this challenge in a just manner?

  • What are the broader implications for modern globalization – both from the climatic changes expected and from the human transformations required to mitigate global warming?

  • What role can or should global governance institutions play in fostering the types of systems transitions called for in the IPCC’s report?

  • And what happens if the GHG reduction targets suggested by the IPCC go unmet?

Chair and Moderator:

Dr. Ryan Katz-Rosene, Assistant Professor and CIPS Principal Researcher, University of Ottawa, and Co-President, Environmental Studies Association of Canada

Panelists:

Dr. Kirsten Zickfeld, Associate Professor, Department of Geography, Simon Fraser University (and one of Canada’s contributing authors to SR15), participating digitally, live from Vancouver

Dr. Prakash Kashwan, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science at the University of Connecticut, Storrs

Dr. Teresa Kramarz, Associate Professor, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto; and Co-Director, Environmental Governance Lab

Dr. Nathalie Chalifour, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa; and Co-director, Centre for Environmental Law and Global Sustainability.

Extracting Environmental Justice: A Joint Panel Q&A

Professors Nathalie Chalifour and Heather McLeod-Kilmurray, along with their colleagues Salvador Herencia and Professors Penelope Simons and Aimée Craft will be participating in a joint panel Q&A on environmental justice on Thursday, February 7, 2019 from 11:30am - 1:00pm in FTX 137. The panel will engage in a critical dialogue on the harmful impacts of natural resource extraction on marginalized communities.

The event is co-hosted by the Indigenous Law Students Association, the Environmental Law Students Association, Canadian Lawyers for International Human Rights (CLAIHR) uOttawa, and Level Justice.

All are welcome, and lunch will be provided! Please note that the event will be in English.

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Saskatchewan, Ontario and the constitutionality of a national carbon price

Professor Nathalie Chalifour has published a new op-ed in The Globe and Mail examining Saskatchewan and Ontario’s positions in relation to the federal carbon tax.

She points out that in general, the arguments presented by both provinces are weak, especially since many legal experts agree that Parliament is within its constitutional authority to implement a national carbon price under one or more subject matters. She also highlights some interesting aspects raised by both provincial governments.

She concludes that: “In the end, it looks as if Saskatchewan and Ontario’s complaints are not really about the Constitution, but reflect a politically motivated, foot-stomping show of their unwillingness to do their part in the national and global effort to reduce GHG emissions. The fact that Ontario Premier Doug Ford is turning to the courts for help, when he recently stated he would override a court decision with the notwithstanding clause because he did not agree with the outcome, speaks volumes. Perhaps the biggest irony of all is that the federal government opted to use a carbon price because it is the policy favoured by economists and conservatives because of its efficiency. Yet it is the conservative-led provinces that are making the most noise about it. Meanwhile, these outlier provinces have left Canadian climate policy fragmented and bogged down in costly lawsuits.”

Nathalie Chalifour Inducted into Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists

Professor Nathalie Chalifour has been selected as a member of the 2018 cohort of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

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Professor Chalifour is widely recognized for her expertise in environmental law and policy, and known internationally for her pioneering work at the intersections of environmental issues, economics and social justice. Her rich record of scholarship is acclaimed for its policy relevance, consistently modeling innovative interdisciplinary approaches to timely environmental problems. As an emerging leader in her field, Professor Chalifour is helping to shape Canada’s developing legal framework for climate change and environmental justice, while contributing to our understanding of how markets and fiscal policy can be harnessed to fairly and effectively safeguard the environment.

The RSC College aims to address issues of particular concern to new scholars, artists and scientists, fostering an environment of interdisciplinary collaboration with the ultimate goal of advancing society. The criteria for election to the College is excellence, and each membership lasts for seven years. Up to 100 members may be elected each year.

Congratulations to Professor Chalifour for this latest achievement!

Sustainable Development Goals and Universities

This month, Professor Chalifour joined a panel featuring Jeffrey D. Sachs, exploring the role of Universities in advancing the global Sustainable Development Goals.

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Jeffrey D. Sachs is a world-renowned professor of economics, leader in sustainable development, senior UN advisor, bestselling author, and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 100 countries. He is the co-recipient of the 2015 Blue Planet Prize, the leading global prize for environmental leadership. He has twice been named among Time magazine’s 100 most influential world leaders. He was called by the New York Times, “probably the most important economist in the world,” and by Time magazine “the world’s best known economist.” A recent survey by The Economistranked Professor Sachs as among the world’s three most influential living economists of the past decade.

Professor Sachs serves as the Director of the Center for Sustainable Development at Columbia University.  He is University Professor at Columbia University, the university’s highest academic rank.  During 2002 to 2016 he served as the Director of the Earth Institute.  Sachs is Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on the Sustainable Development Goals, and previously advised UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on both the Sustainable Development Goals and Millennium Development Goals and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals. He is a Distinguished Fellow of the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria.

Sachs is currently Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network under the auspices of UN Secretary-General António Guterres, and a Commissioner of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Development. He is Chair and Founder of SDG USA, a non-governmental initiative to promote the Sustainable Development Goal concepts in the United States. Sachs is also co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, and was director of the Millennium Villages Project (2005-2015).

Sachs has authored and edited numerous books, including three New York Timesbestsellers: The End of Poverty (2005), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008), and The Price of Civilization (2011).  His recent books include: To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace (2013), The Age of Sustainable Development (2015) and Building the New American Economy: Smart, Fair & Sustainable (2017).

Climate Law Seminar

Professor Nathalie Chalifour taught the first upper year Climate Law Seminar at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law this January, as part of the intensive winter session. Using a multidisciplinary approach characteristic of Chalifour’s teaching, students grappled with legal questions in their broader scientific, economic and political context. Taught in a bilingual format, the seminar featured numerous experts to engage the students in understanding the legal and policy framework for responding to climate change. The course was split between the international context, including an in-depth examination of the Paris Agreement, and Canada’s legal response to climate change at all levels of government.