British Columbia

Include CO2 emission levels in stock market reports, says B.C. professor

Royal Roads University professor Rick Kool says the media should start reporting CO2 levels with stock reports, so the public understands when the market numbers go up, so do carbon emissions.

When the market goes up, so do CO2 emissions, says Rick Kool

Professor Rick Kool says more people might be motivated to make environmentally-sustainable investments if the media reported CO2 emissions along with the stock market numbers. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

A Vancouver Island professor wants the media to start including carbon dioxide emission levels in stock market reports to ensure the public understands the relationship between the environment and the economy.

Rick Kool, professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C., says when Canada's gross domestic product goes up, so do CO2 levels and coupling the data could encourage people to make environmentally sustainable investments in the midst of a climate crisis.

"When the market is up, environment is down," said Kool in an interview with Gregor Craigie, host of CBC's On The Island

He said if people are reminded daily that CO2 rises when stocks rise, investors might back away from industries "whose sole purpose is moving that CO2 level up in the atmosphere" and put their money elsewhere.

Media obligation

"Those who are concerned about the performance of society and the future performance of the economy need to be reminded," said Kool, adding he thinks the media has an obligation to inform the public about the correlation between pollution and profit.

"There's a problem with CO2 in the atmosphere and [media] should report this exactly as you do with the market," said Kool.

Kool told Craigie regularly reporting emission levels as often as the market numbers would also mean reaching those few people who might still be uninformed about the realities of global warming.

"You'd have to live under a rock not to hear," said Kool, adding people with little understanding of stock reports can still have an emotional reaction to them.

"I mean I don't know what the TSX actually measures but I know when it's up I'm supposed to feel good," said Kool, who would like people to feel the same emotional valence if they hear carbon emissions are down.

According to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world needs to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050

To hear the complete interview with Rick Kool, click on the audio link below:

Rock Kool, professor in the School of Environment and Sustainability at Royal Roads University, on why the media should include CO2 emission levels when they report the market numbers. 8:05

With files from On The Island

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