Farewell to National Round Table on Environment and Economy

Blog - March 28, 2013 - By Matt Horne

I wanted to say thank you to the past members and staff of Canada’s National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE). If you weren’t aware, last year’s federal budget gave the order to shut the NRTEE down on March 31, 2013. That shutdown has effectively happened already, as the research and analysis from their 25 years of existence has now been removed from their website. It isn’t clear whether the round table’s past research will be easily accessible; in the meantime you can find an unofficial archive of their work online, including a list of their publications dating back to the early 1990s.

“Forewarned is forearmed....We need to know what climate impacts are coming so we can adapt and prosper.” — NRTEE The NRTEE has been one of the most constructive and informed voices on climate change in the 10 years I’ve been working on these issues. They’ve provided insights into what the costs of climate change could be for Canada, what policies Canada needs to live up to the commitments we’ve made, and what actions the country can take to thrive in a world that is transitioning off of fossil fuels. For an insider’s perspective on the work of the NRTEE since its inception, check out this retrospective piece by past leaders of the organization.

Cover of NRTEE report, Climate Prosperity. Looking back on the release of the 2010 report, “Degrees of Change: Climate Warming and the Stakes for Canada,” it’s hard not to feel a sense that the NRTEE’s insights fell on deaf ears. The website archive still reads: “Forewarned is forearmed. The world is warming and Canada will feel the effects. We need to know what climate impacts are coming so we can adapt and prosper.” Years later, Canada has yet to take meaningful action to address the threat of climate change or capitalize on the opportunities of the low-carbon economy.

Canada would be on a better track today if the federal government had acted on the NRTEE’s advice. In an increasingly polarized debate over Canada’s energy future, their rational and well-informed voice will be missed.


Matt Horne

Matt Horne is the Pembina Institute's associate regional director for British Columbia. He is based in Vancouver.


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