Publications: Policy Notes

Policy Notes and Short Articles

"Cities, Emissions and Mitigating Climate Change." 2022. Who Does What Series: The Municipal Role in Climate Policy, Institute for Municipal Finance and Governance, University of Toronto.

  • I discuss municipalities' emissions mitigation toolkit and implementation challenges in transportation, buildings, waste, and land-use and zoning.


"Energy and Environmental Policy Trends: Making Sense of Alberta’s Fuel Tax Holiday and Electricity Bill Credit" (with Trevor Tombe). 2022. Policy Trends series, The School of Public Policy Publications, March.

  • We discuss the value of Alberta's fuel tax holiday for families on a quarterly basis.


"Measuring the Economic Impact of Alberta’s Crude Oil Curtailment Policy" (with Brandon Schaufele). 2021. Ivey Energy Policy and Management Centre Policy Brief.

  • We measure the short-run economic impact of Alberta’s 2012-2020 oil curtailment policy. The curtailment policy led to an estimated increase in producer operating income of $658 million per month, while consumers, predominantly refiners in the US Midwest, lost economic benefits equal to $763 million per month.


"Energy and Environmental Policy Trends: The Hidden Cost of a Single-Use Plastics Ban" (with Victoria Goodday and Nick Schumacher). 2020. Policy Trends series, The School of Public Policy Publications, November.

  • We discuss the state of scientific evidence on the environmental harm from plastics.


"Energy and Environmental Policy Trends: Cheap Renewables Have Arrived" (with Nick Schumacher, Victoria Goodday and Blake Shaffer). 2020. Policy Trends series, The School of Public Policy Publications, November.

  • We highlight recently released data which shows the levelized cost of energy for wind and solar has reached parity with efficient natural gas power plants.


Energy and Environmental Policy Trends: Our Planet in 2040 – Comparing World Energy Outlooks" (with G. Kent Fellows, Victoria Goodday, and Rabia Ladha). 2019. Policy Trends series, The School of Public Policy Publications, July.

  • We compare predictions of energy use and greenhouse gas emissions from world energy reports.


"Energy and Environmental Policy Trends: Carbon Tax Costs Vary Widely Across Households" (with Trevor Tombe). 2019. Policy Trends series, The School of Public Policy Publications, March.

  • We estimate the distribution of carbon tax costs net of rebates across all Alberta families and report results by family income, for the Alberta rebate system and the federal system.


"Energy and Environmental Policy Trends: The Growing Opportunity for LNG in China" (with Sam Green). 2018. Policy Trends series, The School of Public Policy Publications. June.

  • We describe the growing opportunity for Canada to export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to China.


"Who Is Getting A Carbon-Tax Rebate?" (with Sarah Dobson). 2016. The School of Public Policy Publications (Communique), 9 (June).

  • With its 2016 budget, the Government of Alberta laid out the basic details of the carbon tax rebate. The rebate is constructed to increase based on household size, and will decrease with income after a pre-set cutoff. The government has stated six in 10 households will be eligible for a full rebate, with an additional six per cent receiving a partial rebate. We examines the income distribution of Albertans, to determine how the rebate and income cutoffs affect different types of Alberta families. Using easily available data from Statistics Canada, we shed light on the question of who will receive a carbon-tax rebate.


"Policy Advice to Alberta's New Premier" (with Jack Mintz, Ron Kneebone and Ted Morton). 2014. The School of Public Policy Publications (Communique), 7 (September).

  • A reprint of a series of op-eds, providing advice to Alberta Premier Jim Prentice after his election in September 2014.


"Safety in Numbers: Evaluating Canadian Rail Safety Data" 2014. The School of Public Policy Publications (Communique), 7 (April).

  • I evaluate the state of public available data on rail accidents and incidents in Canada, and conclude the data is not adequate to properly assess rail safety, though one can determine average probabilities of occurrences.


"The Future of Energy Regulation and Policy Development: A Summary Paper" (with Shantel Jordison (nee Beach) and Andrew Wilkins). 2014. The School of Public Policy Publications (Summary Paper), 7 (August).

  • This paper summarizes the discussion and main themes, policy-related implications and observations arising from a symposium on the future of energy regulation in Canada, held in September 2013.


"Grasping at Straws: Comments on the Alberta Pipeline Safety Review." 2013. The School of Public Policy Publications (Communique), 6 (October).

  • I evaluate thirteen of seventeen recommendations from the "Alberta Pipeline Safety Review" commissioned by the Alberta Government. In general, the recommendations are superficial and of little practical use for improving pipeline safety in Alberta.


"Shouldn't all policy be science-based?" (invited contribution with Trevor Tombe), Policy Options, June 2013.

  • A reply to an article written by Thomas Mulcair in the May 2013 issue of Policy Options. We criticize misconceptions about economic policy.