Exchanging Ideas on Climate
National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy
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Measuring Up: Benchmarking Canada's Competitiveness in a Low-Carbon World
Executive Summary Measuring Up - Adobe PDF version Executive Summary Adobe PDF version Table of Contents Low-Carbon Performance Index How Canada Ranks About Climate Prosperity Measuring Up - Adobe PDF version Executive Summary Adobe PDF version Table of Contents Low-Carbon Performance Index How Canada Ranks About Climate Prosperity

1. Introduction

Climate Prosperity is a comprehensive, two-year policy research and advisory program being undertaken by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy on the economic risks and opportunities to Canada of climate change.

Examining what the physical impacts of a warming climate will mean to our environment and what a global low-carbon transition will mean to our economy, Climate Prosperity will offer new insights and analysis into shaping Canada?s public policy responses to this most extraordinary challenge.

This new report, Measuring Up: Benchmarking Canada?s Competitiveness in a Low-Carbon World, is the first in the Climate Prosperity series of reports the NRTEE will issue examining how Canada can prosper through the economic risks and opportunities of climate change as part of this global low-carbon transition.

Measuring Up sets the scene for us. It creates Canada?s first-ever Low-Carbon Performance Index (LCPI) so we can begin to compare where we stand against our G8 competitors. As the world moves to a low-carbon economy, Canada can win or lose. The choice is ours. While the transition is inevitable, the outcomes for us as a country are not. To succeed and prosper in this global low-carbon transition we must first know how we stand against others. We can use this to determine where and how to plan ahead and gain the most.

The NRTEE?s LCPI breaks new ground by illustrating what matters most and why when it comes to low-carbon performance. This index is the first word, not the last, on what we should be tracking to ensure low-carbon competitive success. It is of interest to governments, industry, investors, educators, and media. It commences a needed public policy conversation about where we must strategically focus and why, if we are to succeed in the transition to a global low-carbon economy.

2. NRTEE Low-Carbon Performance Index

Developed with Deloitte & Touche LLP and benefitting from advice and analysis of the Conference Board of Canada, the NRTEE LCPI is a composite index of 15 indicators, equally weighted across five lowcarbon performance categories.

These categories ? emissions and energy, innovation, skills, investment, and policy and institutions ? are core to a country?s low-carbon performance and competitive success. By low-carbon we mean low greenhouse gas emissions related to how we produce and consume energy in our economy. The categories are meant to illustrate not just the status of Canada?s performance at any one time, but also our capacity to prosper and advance in a carbonconstrained world. Any low-carbon growth plan will necessarily build from these core categories in fostering low-carbon performance and future competitive advantage for Canada.

NRTEE Low-Carbon Performance Index
* Download high-resolution version of NRTEE Low-Carbon Performance Index

The 15 indicators are robust and comparable across all G8 countries. They are relevant proxies for important low-carbon performance in the categories in which they are presented. Each was selected following a rigorous assessment of data viability, comparability, and utility. Together, they create a clear and meaningful picture of international low-carbon performance that allows us to benchmark Canada against our main economic competitors.

3. How Canada Ranks

Canada scores sixth place in the G8 when it comes to low-carbon performance.

We are at this time firmly in a second tier of countries, along with the United States and
Japan, significantly back from the first-tier European nations of France, Germany, and the
United Kingdom. Italy and Russia are the clear low-carbon laggards in the G8 community; creating three distinct groupings of performance.

* Download high-resolution version of "How Canada Ranks"

Canada?s overall ranking is principally a function of an economy that is based on high-carbon energy emissions and of the weak performance in the policy and institutions category. Canada scores highest on skills and shows better than average scores on investment and innovation. While clearly not a leading low-carbon performer, the LCPI does show Canada positioned to do better relative to some of its main competitors, particularly the United States, if actions are taken to reduce our energy emissions profile and institute low-carbon growth plans and policies. Canada?s increasingly apparent economic strength and resilience coming out of recession, together with strong performance on the more traditional building blocks for competitiveness such as taxation and public finances, give us a strong foundation to score higher over time on this new Low-Carbon Performance Index.

4. Moving Forward

The NRTEE?s Low-Carbon Performance Index paints an initial picture of Canada?s international competitiveness in a global low-carbon economy.

More needs to be done to complete that picture and to act upon it. Accordingly, the NRTEE makes the following recommendations to accompany this index:

First, the LCPI should be updated regularly to continually track performance and measure progress. New indicators should be added and existing ones adjusted to ensure they are robust and relevant. Public accountability is essential for elected officials, governments, businesses, experts, and others to assess progress and propose future steps.

Second, a dedicated nationally scoped low-carbon index should be developed and published regularly with a broader, more comprehensive range of categories and indicators to marshal domestic efforts across all federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments to development a low-carbon economy for Canada. This new index of performance measures should be focused on specific objectives considered relevant, meaningful, attributable, and balanced. Expectations and benchmarks should be developed simultaneously to ensure a strong focus on outcomes.

Third, these two indices should form the basis for developing a comprehensive low-carbon growth plan for Canada. Such a policy pathway needs to be fully integrated into existing and future economic, environmental, and social policy planning frameworks.

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