Climate Smart Contest for SMEs

The Government of British Columbia is running a contest to awards 20 scholarships for Ecotrust Canada’s Climate Smart program for small and medium-sized businesses and organizations. Join a group of 10-15 enterprises for three, half-day workshops over 10 weeks run by climate change experts experienced in advising SMEs. Climate Smart is comprehensive, business case-based training that will help your firm create a greenhouse gas emissions inventory and identify reduction strategies with a focus on cost savings and brand lift. It is designed to train key staff and provide you with the tools to become more competitive in an era of carbon regulation and volatile energy prices. The program also provides four hours of one-on-one technical support to assist companies and to carry out a final review and approval of the inventory.

Winning firms will be chosen through a random draw and will be profiled on the LiveSmart BC website upon completion of the Climate Smart program. Winners will be expected to attend all three workshops and to carry out the necessary data-gathering efforts to prepare their greenhouse gas emissions inventory. Scholarships are valued at $1500.

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Climate Science and Public Policy

1. Climate Science and Public Policy (Part 1): New Challenges in a Web 2.0 World

In the first of two presentations (February 18), Rod Dobell and Justin Longo will discuss the flow of results from climate science into the formation of public policy in light of three new developments that alter the context for public policy. The first is the spread of new understandings of science; the second is the emergence of an active civil society and aggressive coalitions of environmental non-government organizations; and the third is the spread of social networking.

  • Date: 18 February 2009, Time: 12:00 – 13:30
  • Location: University of Victoria (Victoria, BC) – Tom Shoyama Boardroom, 3rd Floor, Human and Social Development Building.

2. Climate Science and Public Policy (Part 2): Implications for Governance and the Public Service

In the second presentation, Dobell and Longo will consider the implications for processes of governance and the role of the public service resulting from three new developments that dramatically alter the context for public policy. The first is the spread of new understandings of science; the second is the emergence of an active civil society and aggressive coalitions of environmental non-government organizations; and the third is the spread of social networking. For many observers, the implications suggest transformative if not revolutionary change, not just in contemporary processes of governance but in long-standing traditions fundamental to the Westminster/Whitehall model of representative government and public service.

  • Date: 20 February 2009, Time: 12:00 – 13:30
  • Location: University of Victoria (Victoria, BC) – Tom Shoyama Boardroom, 3rd Floor, Human and Social Development Building.

Sponsors: School of Public Administration, Centre for Global Studies and POLIS Project on Ecological Governance

A light lunch will be served. Seating is limited. Please register by February 17 by contacting Belle Young (phone: 250721.8056) to reserve a spot.

Dobell Keynote

Video Clips from

Climate Science, Civil Service and Civic Society:
The Long Haul to Low Carbon Societies

Rod Dobell’s keynote address to the recent symposium “BC’s Climate Change Agenda: 
Changing Culture, Sustaining Momentum and Building Careers” (January 21-22 2009, Victoria BC). The videoclips that were part of the presentation are below, and the presentation deck itself are also available (the the PowerPoint slide deck is here and the pdf of the slide deck is here.).

1. Rick Mercer’s Parody of Crackberry Addicts: not at all germane to the topic, this parody was intended as an alternative to kvetching to everyone to put their Blackberry away.

2. Surprise! Andrew Weaver and the Disappearing Arctic Sea Ice (as told by Al Gore): Andrew Weaver cites the Arctic sea ice — 2007 evidence way outside the scenarios in IPCC—people don’t realize how stunned were the climate scientists. Here, Al Gore tells the story of the shocking summer of 2007. Just think – an ice free Arctic Ocean by 2012!

3. Institutional Aspects: Governance Issues – David Keith talks about geoengineering, and how we are applying science and engineering to the climate crisis … but it’s not clear that we have a handle on the implications.

4. What is Web 2.0 Anyway? For the past 15+ years, the Internet has profoundly change our lives – and changed us. Now the Internet itself is undergoing its own transformation with the adoption of technologies collectively called Web 2.0. This second generation web is characterized by emergence of the Internet as a participatory platform, with the distinction between consumers and producers blurred. The shift from user-selected content to user-created content has significantly changed our on-line interactions – and has the potential to change our social interactions with it. If Gutenberg’s revolution was centred on the mass production of printed texts, then the innovation in Web 2.0 lies in its facility to allow anyone to become a virtual pamphleteer.

Web 2.0 Vocabulary

Web 2.0 Vocabulary

Gov 2.0:  We use the term Web 2.0 to describe recent changes in the use of World Wide Web technology and web design that facilitate enhanced creativity, communication, collaboration and function. (While the term “Web 2.0” is somewhat new, the literature in computer-supported cooperative work (cscw) and computer-mediated cooperation (cmc) systems is robust. The application of cscw and cmc to civic engagement and policy development has a shorter history, but one which Whitehall Policy Consulting and its associates have been at the forefront of. In our opinion, Web 2.0 is siply the current manifestation of this long history of cscw and cmc.).

Web 2.0 technologies – such as blogs and microblogs (e.g., Twitter), wikis, mashups, podcasts, RSS feeds, social networking, content sharing and tagging – continue to grow in popularity and function.

Principally used for social activities (e.g., Facebook and MySpace continue to be cited as principle examples of Web 2.0 applications), Web 2.0 has also been deployed in a number of corporate environments for marketing and operations management (McAfee, 2006). Under the name of Enterprise 2.0, tools such as wikis and blogs have seen widespread uptake. Organizations have years of experience with a range of communication media – email, telephony, intranets and document management systems. What Enterprise 2.0 seeks to accomplish is to reduce the traditional management function of coordination necessary in running large organizations and instead builds that coordination function into the infrastructure.

5. Is Web2.0 Just a Fad? Clay Shirky (at TED Oxford, July 2005) says this is the way of the future, will entail massive readjustments in institutional life; we can see it coming.  This is your future.  We—you—might as well get good at it.  To deal with problems like climate change, public servants must do so.

6. Implications for Public Servants: Clay Shirky (at TED Oxford, July 2005) again. We will face the challenge of detecting merit in a setting of unconstrained individual contributions.  How to know when an unaccredited source has contributed something credible, usable?  How to filter a signal from the noise of all these individual contributions together.

The Premier doth protest too much

The British Columbia Climate Action Secretariat has been moved from the Premier’s Office to the Ministry of Environment. In fact, the Minister of Environment is also identified as the Minister Responsible for Climate Action.

Reminds me of June 2005 when the Minister was also responsible for Sustainable Communities and Water Stewardship. Didn’t take long for those business cards to be shortened. The Premier went out of his way to say this doesn’t signal a change in priorities.

On the DM dance front, Graham Whitmarsh is to replace Chris Trumpy as DM Finance in April.