Author: Joyce

The Green City: Richard Peddie’s Green Cities

The Green City: Richard Peddie’s Green Cities

Electric vehicle rebate among staff proposals to speed up Toronto’s target to become a carbon neutral city

A couple of days before the start of Toronto’s official Climate Week, I sat down with Richard Peddie, a managing partner with the law firm of Peddie, Sheppard and Eaton, to discuss his proposals for the City. Peddie and his colleagues, like other members of the Canadian Green Government, see Green Cities as an ideal vehicle to implement a federal carbon tax. The idea is that a Green City would receive a rebate on the tax but then use the proceeds for specific projects or services which would be a net gain for the city.

He first sketched his proposal to me at the Canadian Consensus Conference in Guelph in 2012. Then I shared it with the city cabinet, the mayor’s office and the various City Councils.

These proposals remain under discussion. Peddie and his associates want to bring the rebate program into a climate-friendly city. Under the Peddie proposal, a Green City would see the rebates and the tax collected by the city council as an initial investment — as well as a possible source for future Green Infrastructure improvements to create a Green City.

Here’s the deal, he explained to me. “We say the city budget would be $1.8 billion but it would actually be $2.2 billion and we say that $500 million of those is going to be a rebate. The rebate is designed to cover the cost of the Green infrastructure, so Green Infrastructure, and some of the Green infrastructure we would use is the transit system which we have had some problems building in the past… and the city would then receive that rebate and we would use that in another project we would undertake.”

The rebate, he explained, would be a tax — and he added that he is aware of some jurisdictions that have used taxes for this purpose. “But I think it is a very good idea because it is the only way to get to the carbon tax in a very short period of time.”

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