University of Calgary

Aligning economics and the environment

UToday HomeJuly 13, 2012

Professor Scott Taylor of the Department of Economics.Professor Scott Taylor of the Department of Economics.The economy of the future is likely to reward companies and countries that are energy efficient, low polluting and use scarce natural resources productively. Just how to fit into this new economic order is the focus of a new national network funded by Environment Canada and co-hosted by the University of Calgary and the University of Ottawa.

“Discussions over environmental policy are often more contentious than they need to be – yes, there are trade-offs to be made, but a clear understanding of the evidence linking regulation to productivity, to competitiveness, and to environmental outcomes is key to making good policy decisions. The network’s goal is to provide this information to policymakers,” says the network co-leader Scott Taylor, Canada Research Chair in International, Energy and Environmental Economics and a professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Calgary.

This new national Economics and Environmental Policy Research Network, funded by Environment Canada, brings together more than 70 leading researchers from across the country to study and develop innovative policies for protecting Canada’s environment while simultaneously building a stronger economic future.

Canada’s challenge is to design environmental policies that will unleash the level of innovation and efficiency needed to prepare for this new economy. This network draws on leading-edge international research and experience and brings together Canada’s top scholars to advise on ‘next generation’ policy approaches for building a greener, stronger Canadian economy.

“The idea that we need to choose between a healthy environment and strong economy is old thinking. The truth is we must have both, and we can. With the right policies in place – ones that align our environmental and market incentives – Canada could be a global green economic leader within a generation, in all sectors,” says co-leader Stewart Elgie, director, Institute of the Environment, and professor, Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa.

Environment Canada has committed $500,000 in support over five years to help establish this research network. This initiative aims at enhancing Environment Canada’s capacity to integrate environmental and economic policy considerations and research into its regulatory functions.

The network mobilizes more than 74 scholars, representing 12 disciplines, from 19 Canadian universities and research organizations. Also involved are 12 international scholars, including many of the leading researchers in their fields. The network will focus on how to design environmental policies to improve competitiveness and innovation, and to change behaviours. It will build connections and capacity, foster greater dialogue between academics and government partners, and will generate innovative, policy-relevant research.