The Costs of Climate Change
With forestry, agriculture and energy being important contributors to Canada's balance of trade, protection of the country's natural resources and its environment is key to the continued growth of Canada's economy and the well-being of its people. Canada is a leader in many global environmental initiatives, including bio-diversity, forestry and climate change, and faces key ongoing decisions about trade with the United States regarding such issues as softwood lumber, water and hydro-electric power. Given those realities, it is clear that Canada's decision-makers stand to benefit from environmental and resource economics research that is conducted in concert with the work of other researchers in the field. Climate science often ignores economic considerations, and climate models do not usually include interactive economic sectors, making it difficult to explore cost-effective policy responses to climate change and its consequences.
Dr. G. Cornelis van Kooten is widely recognized as a leader in devising effective economic measures for analyzing various aspects of the environment, and his seven-year plan as Canada Research Chair in Environmental Studies and Climate Change will allow him to apply his techniques to a wide range of issues. While his plan is designed to accommodate issues that arise between now and 2009, its initial focus will be on two principal areas: economics of climate change; and forest economics and policy analysis.
The University of Victoria has one of the world's three large-scale models for developing the science of climate change, and Dr. van Kooten will work in an interdisciplinary setting to study the economic factors related to such topics as: land use; carbon offsets; water use; energy; and forestry.
Although forestry is an important sector in the Canadian economy, academic work is not commensurate with this profile. Dr. van Kooten's work will strengthen this area by examining topics such as: trade in forest products; certification of forest practices and products; and forest policy and the new institutional economics.