hile many of us are pessimistic aboutthe likelihood that a new global accordon climate change will emerge toreplace the Kyoto Protocol (with largeemitters like Canada and the US retreating from thedevelopment of national programmes), we havemany reasons to be optimistic about the potential forurban and regional approaches to succeed. There is plenty of evidence that non-state actors -companies, NGOs and public institutions - arerushing in to fill the void left by the political impasseon climate change at the national level in manycountries. This multi-level and multi-stakeholderplatform is more flexible, resilient and effective thanstale international relations. A grand and ambitiousclimate policy experiment in British Columbia,Canada, over the last three years exemplifies how asmall jurisdiction can both enact meaningful climatepolicy and demonstrate how a wide constituencyfrom citizens to companies can respond to the newopportunities it creates. More than fifty per cent of the world's populationnow lives in cities so leadership from urban centresand regions under the C40 Cities and R20 Regionsof Climate Action initiatives gives us cause foroptimism. Just as Finland showed how a smallcountry can become a world leader in technology,British Columbia has shown how, in three years, aregion can leap to the front of the climate policypack. Beginning in 2008, the Province implementeda wide range of policies to create a revenue-neutralcarbon tax, committed to carbon-neutral governmentoperations and regulations that tackle emissionsfrom vehicles, buildings and landfill gas sites. TheProvince also ensured that the investmentenvironment for clean technology would capitaliseon natural resource endowments through a bioenergystrategy and tax and venture capital programmesthat create strong conditions for growth. Revenues from the clean technology sector hadgrown to $2.5bn by 2010; while that amount isdwarfed by investment by countries like China, theProvince has established itself as one of the mostvibrant clean technology innovation hubs in theworld and the businesses that succeed there arepoised to take on export markets. Companies likeOffsetters have emerged as innovative leaders incarbon management in North America, in responseto the new opportunities created by policymakers. Successful climate policy not only requirescomprehensive and intelligent policy design; thegreatest barrier to progress in the low-carboneconomy is social acceptance of new policy andtechnologies. The greatest opportunity to show theworld how new buildings and transportation systemsnot only reduce emissions but also improve quality oflife was the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games.Not only was it the greenest Games in history, it wasalso the first carbon-neutral Olympics. Offsetters, in collaboration with the VancouverOrganising Committee, worked closely to offset thedirect emissions of the Games and to engagespectators, athletes, sponsors and partners tounderstand their carbon footprint as part of theindirect emissions associated with the Games. The aim was to reduce that footprint where possible, and finally, to offset those emissions that could not be reduced. As a result, three billion viewers and hundreds of thousands of guests witnessed how investment in low-carbon infrastructure Above: Aerial view of theCampus of University ofBritish ColumbiaRight: Dr James Tansey,CEO and Founder ofOffsettersBRITISHCOLUMBIAAS ACLIMATE CHANGE INNOVATIONLABORATORY094CARBON FINANCEDR JAMES TANSEY, CEO AND FOUNDER, OFFSETTERSASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, SAUDER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAEXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF ISIS, THE SAUDER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS W
CARBON FINANCE095created a backdrop to an Olympic Games that was both breathtaking and highly effective. Thissuccessful relationship has set a precedent for future Olympic Games and large-scale events to follow. Cities within the Province continue to build on theirlegacy of sustainable urban design, creating themost liveable urban areas in the world throughpolicies that encourage density, building retrofitsand the development of infrastructure for greenvehicles. Perhaps the most comprehensivereinvention of a city is on the campus of theUniversity of British Columbia. Functioning like a city with 60,000 inhabitants, theuniversity's leadership has committed to turn thecampus into a living laboratory for clean technologyinnovation, with a target of 33 per cent reduction ingreenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2015 and 60per cent by 2020. By turning the campusinfrastructure into a laboratory where emergingcompanies can develop and test technologies,including a biogasification system developed withNexterra and GE, and through the construction ofThe Centre for Interactive Research on Sustainability(the greenest building in North America), the visionis to create a vibrant cluster of commercialinnovators and world-class researchers. Climate change will not be solved through a weakand non-binding consensus among 200 nations. Itwill be solved through the vigour, energy and resolveof thousands of smaller jurisdictions around theglobe that choose to master their own destinies.nABOUT THE AUTHORDr James Tansey is the CEO and founder ofOffsetters. He is also an associate professor at theUniversity of British Columbia's Sauder School ofBusiness where he is Executive Director of ISIS, asocial innovation incubator. He was previously alecturer in Science and Technology Studies with theSaid Business School in Oxford, where he was alsoDeputy Director of the James Martin Institute forScience and Civilisation. He has taught in MBA,EMBA, Executive Education, MSc andUndergraduate programmes in the UK and Canada.Following the Vancouver 2010 Olympic WinterGames, Dr Tansey was selected as one of fourinternational advisers working with the UnitedNations Environment Programme on theenvironmental strategy for the 2014 OlympicWinter Games in Sochi, Russia. Dr Tansey hasworked as an advisor and contributor to the WorldEconomic Forum, the UK National Audit Office,Oxford Analytica, Cisco, ISIS Innovation (Oxford),Carbon War Room, Environment Canada and theCanadian Environmental Assessment Agency.