Working Paper: Pollution in Canada: A Review of the Literature and Initial Estimate of Costs

Pollution in Canada: A Review of the Literature and Initial Estimate of Costs surveys the literature available about the costs associated with pollution in Canada, and arrives at preliminary figures for pollition costs divided into the categories of:

  • loss of asset values
  • loss of income and other sources of wellbeing
  • and out-of-pocket expenses.

This working paper presents the results of research on the cost of pollution in Canada undertaken with the above framework in mind. Studies considered relevant to determining the cost of pollution in Canada were analyzed and summarized. The environmental impacts and economic categories considered varied widely among them. The approach used to deal with this diversity was to select the most credible and relevant studies and to base as many of the costs presented in this report as possible on them.
This working paper represents preliminary findings, which Sustainable Prosperity is making available to generate discussion and debate. The conclusions arrived at in this paper are the author’s alone. Comments are welcome and should be directed to Michelle Brownlee.

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About the Project

The goal of this project is to shed light on the relationship between economic activity and the environment by exploring the linkages between changes in our natural capital and our measures of productivity generally, and through the construction of an environmentally adjusted measure of productivity specifically.

While it is now commonly accepted that economic activity and the state of our environment are linked, many economic measures still fail to incorporate the environment – both the things we draw from it and the pollution we release into it. By developing and calculating measures of productivity that include natural capital, Canada may be able to better understand these linkages. This, in turn, may lead to the identification of strategies that can help Canada become more efficient and innovative in the use and protection of natural capital, and thus more productive and more prosperous.

Using the forestry sector as a case study, this project aims to construct an environmentally adjusted measure of multifactor productivity. In doing so, we aim to add another layer of understanding to the environmental and economic performance of this sector. The proposed measure will have relevance to the Canadian economy as a whole.