Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Proper Protocol?

Tonight, the House of Commons will vote in a law binding them to respect Canada's Kyoto commitments. This is quite remarkable since it is being done against the government's will, making it difficult to really predict how it's passage will be interpreted. Given that it will cost a lot of money to meet Kyoto and that the environment has become such a major issue, the government would certainly be in their right to see this as a loss of confidence and call an election over it. If the Conservatives simply call it a "nuisance bill" and ignore it, the opposition parties would certainly be in their right to bring forward a non-confidence motion and defeat the government on it.

I still don't think we'll see an election until 2008, but if anyone is itching for a spring vote, the mechanism to get there is certainly in place.

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75 Comments:

  • I think the Government has said quite clearly that they intend to ignore it.

    The other scenario of course, is the opposition taking the Government to court.

    We're in interesting times.

    By Blogger knb, at 6:47 PM  

  • maybe we should pass bills, tying up parliament forever, on all our treaties.

    Since we have been in default of our NATO obligations for years by underfunding our Forces, a PM bill would force this government to fund the Forces. NOW !!

    Which makes me think that Mr. Dion will be obligated to meet the Kyoto obligations, should he win the impending, because this bill doesn't die with this parliament.

    By Blogger Fred :), at 7:24 PM  

  • A political ploy that, if successful, will set the stage for more like it in the future. If the Liberal Party was genuine and honestly concerned for Kyoto they would have passed laws and implemented policy years ago, after they became a signatory to the international agreement. Now that they are not the party in power, it is important? I think it is only important in the manner that they can try and embarrass the government. Sadly smiling Jack is more then willing to be a dupe in supporting this piece of fluff.

    By Blogger Dwayne, at 7:37 PM  

  • What a dangerous game the opposition parties are playing. The economy would be devastated if for some reason this bill required the government to enact a 35% tax on EVERYTHING, immediately, in order to contract the economy so that we could meet our commitments.

    To think the opposition parties are playing politics with a flawed public policy which could affect millions of Canadians livlihood, its absurd.

    In order for emissions to be reduced, economic growth would have to not only stop, but contract, because fossil fuels are the main driver of the CDN economy.

    If the Lib's find themselves in an election over this, or if Harper lets them get away with it and is required to crush the economy to meet these targets, I highly doubt the Canadian electorate would ever forgive the Liberal party again.

    By Blogger M. K. Braaten, at 7:42 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 7:57 PM  

  • ..and the Conservatives accuse the Liberals of fear-mongering??

    M.k Braaten has just demonstrated a perfect example of the Tories and their supporters fear-mongering they've done over Kyoto since last year.

    I challenge you to find statistics that claims "millions of us" are going to lose our livelihood or "hundreds of thousands" of us are going to lose our jobs (which I've seen posted at my comments section on a related topic).

    (And I mean, some place besides the Climate-change denying Fraser Institute. They have no credibility to begin with).

    CG:

    Knb is right.. the opposition Parties or any private group could take the government to court, and thats the route I'd take if I were them. Most constitutional law experts I've seen this week say the government would have no choice but to follow this law, and it would probably lose any lawsuit brought against it, since Harper's attempt at court-stacking with Conservative cronies wont have taken effect yet to rig all the courts in time for this.

    Not even this whiny bunch would dare defy the Canadian court system.

    By Blogger Scott Tribe, at 7:59 PM  

  • Yea, its only fear mongering Tories who say meeting these commitments without massive job and economic losses. Does that make Buzz Hargrove a Tory these days? I know he's flirted with every other party out there...

    By Blogger Chris, at 8:05 PM  

  • Supporting this Kyoto bill is a massive mistake. To actually meet the Kyoto targets in 5 years would put the country in a great depression. This is not realistic policy, it is naive, and does nothing but undermine Liberal credibility.

    Yes, we need to take major steps to reduce emissions, but we cannot do this on the back of our economy and the employment of our population.

    By Blogger Ramsey, at 8:29 PM  

  • Perhaps the best thing the CPC could do is agree to table a plan. If I were them I would table something that targets all the provinces hard, but Ontario and Quebec extremely hard, and then vote against it. No one says you have to vote for something that you table in the house. Then we can watch the Libs, PQ and NDP wiggle as they decide if they will disembowel Canada or admit that they passed into law a bill that had no other purpose then to be a pain in the ass.

    Kyoto is a bad plan, period. It had no purpose other then to transfer wealth from first world to third world countries. If it was serious then it would put some kind of restraint on all countries equally and not allow polluters of any kind.

    By Blogger Dwayne, at 8:33 PM  

  • Tribe:

    How hard is this to understand?

    Total Energy consumption, and emissions, can only be decreased if the economy contracts (or there is some miracle technology that reduces emissions). This is because as the economy grows, there is an increase in consumption of fossil fuels - and by extension increased emissions. There is a direct correlation between consumption of fossil fuels, economoic growth, and the amount of emissions produced.

    If the economy slows down in growth, then consumption and emissions slow down, however it is still increasing, albiet at a slower rate. But even then, fuel consumption and emissions is not reduced, its just increasing at a slower rate.

    So, unless we spent billions of dollars buying credits from a country which has a surplus, the only way to bring our fuel consumption and emissions down to pre-1994 levels, is for the economy to contract. How could you do that? You would have to raise taxes so high that it not only stops economic growth but also contracts to a smaller size.

    The consequences of this would include mass job losses, a sharp decrease in foreign investment, and long term structural damage to the CDN economy.

    If, however, Canada purchases 16$ billion dollars worth of credits, we may meet our emissions targets, but has the volume of emissions as a whole in Canada decreased? Not one bit.

    There is no way to REDUCE emissions without a contraction of the economy, or a purchase of credits which does nothing to reduce emissions, or a magic technology which has yet to be invented.

    By Blogger M. K. Braaten, at 8:35 PM  

  • M.K.,

    It seems the premier of British Columbia disagrees with your fear-mongering. Heck, GM is looking at making cars using little to no fossil fuels.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 8:48 PM  

  • Scott (sic) Diatribe: "I challenge you to find statistics that claims "millions of us" are going to lose our livelihood or "hundreds of thousands" of us are going to lose our jobs".

    Ummm, Scott, statistics will be scarce, since statistics are mathematical analysis of something measurable, i.e. it has already occured. Statistics also "claim" nothing since they are mathematical constructs, people interpret them and then make "claims", often influenced by self possesed biases, as is human nature. On to facts.

    Canada's Kyoto target is a reduction of something like 6% below 1990 levels of GHG by 2012, just less than 5 years away. The major GHG emitters are the electrical utilities, transportation sector, farm sector, and the energy sector. 6% below 1990, is 35% below today's output, in less than 5 years. 35%. This is not a typo, nor an interpretation, nor an opinion, it is a measurable fact.

    Other facts. Building a new power plant, be it nuclear, "clean" coal, hydro or what have you involves an environmental assessment, typically lasting 36-48 months, followed by construction of anywhere from 3 to 10 years. Ipso facto, new power generation technology and or construction will not help us meet Kyoto in less than 5 years. Opinion: Given the growth of our economy, because of demand for our products and immigration, conservation could, at best, hold the line on consumption.

    Our growing economy also makes any meaningful reductions from Agriculture unlikely. We now have 50% of the economy left to absorb an overall 35% cut in emmissions. CG, I believe that is in the vicinity of a 70% cut to energy and transportation?

    This means oilsands shut down, commercial aviation grounded, gasoline severely rationed and at massive prices, and other more draconian measures, or we ship tens of billions of our taxes to the gangsters and tyrants who run Russia and China.

    This is the case which the opposition has now allowed PM Harper to start to make to the Canadian people, with a virtually unlimited warchest to do so, the only solution to which is a CPC majority.

    We are printing signs, and renting busses. Good luck.

    By Blogger Grithater, at 9:05 PM  

  • Yes. What MKB has said is 100% absolutely true. If you handcuff yourself by refusing to implement a carbon tax, or a cap and trade system.

    A carbon tax system is a great deterrent in getting people's behaviour to change. Has anyone seen the smoking rates over the past 10 years?

    A cap and trade system works even better. And it does reduce emission. In fact... a cap and trade system has been in place for S02 for decades.... and N02 in at least the past decade. And it has reduced acid rain and air pollution in... the United States.

    John Baird compared the emissions trading system to asking another person to lose weight when we ourselves were overweight. (Words to a colleague of his?)

    Basically, if it cost manufacturer 1 cheaper to reduce it's emission by 1 unit than it does manufacturer 2, and between them they are required to reduce their overall emissions by 1, Manufacturer 2 will pay manufacturer 1 to do it.

    Both gain, emissions are reduced by 1... how does this not reduce emissions by 1 again?...

    By Blogger Ivan, at 9:16 PM  

  • 'Baird suggested the government will simply ignore the bill if it becomes law.
    "How do you implement a bill with no money and no regulatory powers?" he told CTV News.'

    Anyone here want to answer that question??

    Campbell, BC Premier, has targeted 2020, missing the Kyoto target of 2012.
    Quebec also stated, even with the fed cash, it will not meet Kyoto targets by 2012.

    I guess now you all know why the attack ads were run outside an election:

    Iggy 'We didn't get it done'?
    Dryden 'Why didn't we do more?'
    Dion 'That's not fair, you think making priorities is easy?'

    Just ahead of the Libs FORCING the Government of Canada to live up to an agreement they signed and ratified and VOLUNTARILY were in ..breach of the terms ..of the Kyoto agreement. (counter suit anyone)

    By Blogger wilson61, at 9:44 PM  

  • Kyoto is a fiction. It is a political placebo - a feel good pill that really accomplishes nothing. Seriously reducing carbon emissions is not for the faint-hearted ie: Canadians. Ironically the Conservatives are probably the most likely to address this issue effectively and rationally. The electorate is not going to support the vitriol of the Libs and NDP and risk (potentially) an economic disaster - the pocket trumps even the best of intentions...

    By Blogger fair sailing, at 9:46 PM  

  • Scott Tribe is auditioning for stupidest human of the year these days. The other finalists include Cherniak.

    It doesnt matter who you trot out to say that emissions cannot possibly be reduced by 35% without wrecking the economy he will dismiss them because they are not David Suzuki. Who I must add stopped being a scientist years ago and became an activist. He does little to no knew science and spends all his time being David Suzuki.

    This is really easy to understand so maybe Tribe will get it:

    The oil sands do not account for 35% of the country's emissions. If we shut them down completely we devestate AB and SK and we plunge the Ontario manufacturing sector into a deep recession. We still are a long way off from meeting our obligations.

    The domino effect raises national unemployment to extremely high numbers as the EI rolls grow rapidly. The federal govt goes into deficit again trying to meet its EI obligations. Interest rates rise rapidly to soften the decrease in the value of the currency. Housing prices crater and hundreds of thousands lose their homes as their mortgage payments rise while their salaries fall.

    We still havent met the Kyoto obligations yet and no saviour technology has come forward as most companies are too busy laying off workers, R+D investment plunges as corportations cut back and Ottawa is too broke to finance it with tax breaks.

    I could go on but anyone with a basic understanding of undergrad economics could continue the narative...

    By Blogger renegadejet, at 9:50 PM  

  • I could go on but anyone with a basic understanding of undergrad economics could continue the narative...

    Yeh, yeh, you have to have taken economics in university to be able to have an opinion on Kyoto but yet the Cons can't even seem to fucking count...

    Canadian democracy has spoken, respect it or else.

    By Blogger Demiurge, at 10:13 PM  

  • demiurge:

    you seem to confuse representative democracy with direct democracy. Please go back to high school civics and reform your opinion.

    As well if you werent so dogmatic or shortsighted you might seem to grasp that this is a hill Harper would choose to die on.

    Pablo aint a very sharp knife and Dion is believing his own myth. Better get the oposition seats padded, your gonna be there a while.

    By Blogger renegadejet, at 10:32 PM  

  • Can Pablo put forth a private members bill to end world hunger? How about a bill to eradicate murders? What else can we get the government to do? I'm more than slightly embarrassed to be a Liberal today - forcing the Tories to do something in 60 days that we couldn't do in all those years in office.

    By Blogger Amanda, at 10:44 PM  

  • I'm not a Liberal but Dion deserves a chance to work with the other parties. Its clear Harper is too ideological to respect the democratic will of Canadians. And we are a representative democracy so what exactly is your point?

    Although polls suggest Canadians would support Kyoto through direct democracy as well. But maybe only Canadians with the proper religious training via an undergrad degree in Economics should be able to vote....

    Its not exactly a surprise that Harpercrites don't realize why Canadians look down on breaking their promise to the international community seeing as how they've governed. So is Emerson going to scurry away from facing his constituents in Kingsway, it would be a bit too democratic for him to run again in the riding he was supposed to represent aye?

    By Blogger Demiurge, at 10:49 PM  

  • I chair an Industrial Association in Alberta.

    The targets are achievable.

    The Conservatives are indeed fear-mongering.

    It's all about competing investments and returns to the shareholder.

    Do we invest in environmental technology with zero R.O.I.?

    Or do we invest in further development with guaranteed R.O.I. generating increased profits and increased returns to investors?

    Yes. The targets in 5 years are archievable.

    But at what cost to the investment industry ?

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 10:52 PM  

  • Shut down every single coal power plant in Canada, shut down the entire oil industry in Alberta and close all factories. Truthfully, I'd love to see it happen, i'd love to see the unemployment and devastation to follow just to be able to say, I told ya so...as we all starve in the dark, or alternately send all our money to Russia, China and India to buy credits and merrily along as we have been doing. Stop buying stuff from polluting countries people, just stop consuming. Stop wanting the latest toys that have to be produced in polluting factories. Until people are willing to change their own lifestyles anything we do in Canada is a piss in the ocean.

    By Blogger Rositta, at 10:57 PM  

  • Clean coal technolgies could easily be adopted by 2012.

    Google Hitachi Council Bluffs.

    Each 800 MW conversion costs $2.8 Billion

    We can replace existing plants with new technology that exists now.

    Just recognize that that the R.O.I on each $2.8 B inve sted is zero.

    It can be done.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 11:08 PM  

  • What the hell happened to the "three pillars"?

    The Liberals and Dion are losing credibility with the informed voter with this Kyoto stunt.

    If the Liberals, NDP, and BQ want to implement measures to reach the Kyoto targets, they have the so-called Clean Air Act in committee, and are free to rewrite it.

    The Liberals better hope this stunt goes away.

    To meet our Kyoto targets on time, Ontario's coal-fired electricity plants would have to be shut down, which means the lights would not stay on in Ontario. (Either that or pay billions of dollars to foreign countries.)

    The automobile industry is pretty sickly at the moment. GM's new Canadian project for Oshawa subsidized by Ontario and Ottawa is a muscle car (the new Camaro). Chrysler's in Brampton is a muscle car (the new Challenger). The fleet of existing Canadian cars cannot be turned over in 5 years.

    And well, you have to put a full stop to the oilsands.

    It's embarassing to be a Canadian today.

    We need a realistic plan with a realistic timetable to get to a hard cap. The Kyoto number was a fiction, a number pulled out of thin air by Chretien to outbid Bill Clinton.

    The three pillars look to have become one, and it is looking a lot like the Liberals giving Canadians the finger.

    Where the hell are the adults?

    By Blogger godot10, at 11:14 PM  

  • If Canada achieves its Kyoto goals in 5 years, will there be less carbon emissions in the world than in 1990?

    If Canada achieves its Kyoto goals in 5 years, will global warming end and Antarctica's ice shelves increase in size?

    What Canada reduces in the next 5 years is minor compared to the increases in carbon emissions in China and India.

    Does that mean we should not try to reach Kyoto goals?

    No, it does not.

    We should be aiming to reach Kyoto goals the same way the B.C. Liberals have outlined it, by 2020, not by 2012.

    A good person I know is seeking a Liberal nomination. I have refused to encourage her further because I feared the Liberals would self-destruct and she would have no chance of being elected as an MP under the Liberal banner.

    The Liberals are not only going to lose many ridings in the 905, but they are going to lose many affluent ridings in Toronto.

    It's ironic that Pablo is a guest at an upcoming Iggy fundraiser.

    MississaugaPeter

    By Blogger Peter, at 11:29 PM  

  • What's wrong with paying 'billions of dollars' to other countries in order to reduce emissions?

    Ever shop at a Walmart? Ever buy anything made overseas? Why are you 'sending billions of dollars' to other countries overseas?

    Because they can do it cheaper than we can or better than we can.

    Now apply this to emissions trading.

    Other countries can help reduce emissions (and help all prosper by reducing global warming) cheaper and to a greater extent than we can.

    If you support free trade, and almost all Conservatives do, you should understand the logic behind emissions trading.

    By Blogger Ivan, at 11:33 PM  

  • Ivan:

    you are buying nothing but the results of economic retraction in other countries, try again...

    "Although polls suggest Canadians would support Kyoto through direct democracy as well. But maybe only Canadians with the proper religious training via an undergrad degree in Economics should be able to vote...."

    wrong again twit. you have no proof that canadians would support the drastic economic devestation that would occur due to compliance with Kyoto. They have been snowed by charlatans like Pablo and Stephane and Mark (hair on fire) Holland.

    This is a majority winner for Harper. Proceed at your peril. You should get bum warmers with those padded seats as Harper turns down the temp in the house in a symbolic effort to Maurice Strong's symbolic gesture. Learn your history kid...

    By Blogger renegadejet, at 11:46 PM  

  • I think the Liberals have lost the PR war on this one.

    Regardless of whether or not Kyoto is achievable, I think the conversation has shifted from "The Tories are abandoning Kyoto" to "Kyoto is unrealistic."

    They longer they cling to it, the less credible they become on an issue everyone thought they would crush the Tories on.

    I don't understand the strategy behind a bill that essentially makes it illegal to NOT shrink the economy.

    I don't get it.

    By Blogger reporterbrock, at 11:47 PM  

  • The real argument is what can be done.

    We may not achieve Kyoto targets but with the right leadership we will begin to head in the right direction.

    First, accept that climate change is an issue and a responsibility.

    Second, set targets to achieve.

    Third, provide incentives for compliance.

    Fourth, create regulations with associated financial penalties for non-compliance.

    Fifth, give everyone 5 years notice.

    Sixth, set benchmarks for compliance towards the 5 year goal (How are we doing? Do we have to increase our investment and efforts? )

    We don't have to meet the targets butwe certainly have to demonstrate significant progress.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 12:03 AM  

  • "First, accept that climate change is an issue and a responsibility."

    In the absence of science go for religion...

    Remember uriah formaldehyde?

    Its called junk science, Kyoto is junk science.

    Maurice Strong's handiwork. Read the history and learn of the fall of the Liberal Party of Canada.

    By Blogger renegadejet, at 12:25 AM  

  • Umm...

    Renegadejet:

    You are making the same arguments that were made when the Free Trade agreement came out; That it is a zero sum game.

    That argument was wrong then, and it's wrong now when applied to emissions trading.

    Just as a _very_ simple example:

    It takes five tons of Brown coal (lignite) to yield the equivalent energy level of one ton of hard coal (bituminous).

    Why do countries use lignite? Because you can't sell it on the international market (it has no other use than power generation).

    During conversion, Bituminous coal releases 4922 lbs/ton while Lignite releases 2734 lbs/ton. But we need to multiply that by a factor of 5 (for equivalent energy output) and we get 13670 lbs equivalent of C02 for a net difference of 8748 lbs of C02 between the two.

    In 2005, Lignite prices were US$12.03 per ton, and Bituminous prices were US$33.45. Since you need 5 tons of Lignite to equal the energy output of Bituminous it's actually more _expensive_ to use Lignite.

    But the rub is, the stuff is abundant in many countries. Bituminous coal is not as plentiful, and there are demands from other industries (Steel) for it. So Lignite ends up being used.

    This is the dirtiest type of coal... what would make that country switch to Bituminous? Enough profit in gaining an emissions permit through switching fuel sources (that's what).

    There's an example of a simple fuel switch.... not economic ruin.

    Or for a very simple microeconomic example:

    32% of coal plants in the US have been installed with scrubbers. Only 20% of Chinese coal plants have. Why? Because the low hanging easily convertible plants have already been fitted in the States. Not so in China. What would make China install more scrubbers to cut emissions? The possibility of profit from emissions credits...

    In both cases, overall emissions are cut and economic ruin does not occur. It does not matter _where_ an emission comes from it all goes into our commons (the atmosphere).

    By Blogger Ivan, at 12:46 AM  

  • I'm guessing that renegadajet meant Urea-formaldehyde.

    Since he can't even spell it, I doubt that he has done much research into the science.

    I rest my case.

    By Blogger Down & Out in L A, at 1:02 AM  

  • I can't believe that even the most doctrinaire of Liberals really wants us to a) contract the economy to plunge thousands into poverty

    or b) send government money out of the country to countries whom are doing nothing to halt pollution but whose economy collapsed since 1993 as a result of the transition from communism to capitalism. This doesn't create environmental advances anywhere.

    Either way its bad policy. Devestating the Canadian economy would be all kinds of stupid, deliberately engineering a rescision is the sort of stuff that causes political parties to become moribund. While essentially buying someone else's economic loss, is stupid as it doesn't go towards achieving the actual goal of kyoto. The money would be better spent assuming you want to reach the goals, simply making gradual investments that eventually improve energy efficiency. Given that otherwise you simply have to buy increasing amounts of credits as your economy expands.

    By Blogger Chris, at 1:40 AM  

  • Can anyone actually show me who we'd be buying credits off of? People always claim we'll be buying off of China, Russia and India but I've never read this by any kind of authoritative source.

    By Blogger Dan McKenzie, at 1:52 AM  

  • So, why would the opposition parties prefer to push for a bill, that will take at least 3 months (one in Senate & 60 days) to produce a plan, over finalizing the Clean Air Act in 5 weeks??
    Why are all the Suzukis coming out to praise the 'very aggressive' Campbell plan for BC, target dates 2020, and FORCING the Government of Canada (thought you had better get it into perspective) to reach goals 8 years earlier?

    The Government of Canada has to abide by this law, that could be Dion's Liberals.
    If Libs win, then what? Dion has already stated publicly that the targets can't be reached. Will he just flippantly recind the bill?

    Is there any such thing as being able to charge a former (Lib) government with gross negligence causing environmental harm?

    By Blogger wilson61, at 2:08 AM  

  • Well this is going to be fun.

    An election battle of the wonks over implementing a treaty which will make no difference at all to a problem which is being defined down fast. At the risk of a 35% contraction in the Canadian economy. (You can quibble with m.k.braaten's numbers but, hey, I suspect 26.5% would suck just as badly.)

    If Dion is really dumb enough to force an election on this he may just give Harper his majority.

    Amazing,

    By Blogger jaycurrie, at 2:13 AM  

  • Jay, fools argue m.k.b.'s numbers.

    The Liberal party of Canada learned in November and December of 2006 not to muck with M.K. Braaten, the NDP capitalized.

    It appears a new lesson is in the works.

    Fun, indeed.

    Cheers,
    lance

    By Blogger lance, at 2:40 AM  

  • Oh yeah, campaigning against Kyoto is a real winner for getting the seats in Quebec and urban Canada that the Cons would need to get a majority!! I have this lovely land for sale, a tad swampy but...

    The opposition finally grew a pair of cohones tonight and listen to the teeth chattering from "progressives" when the Cons come back with conspiracy theories about Maurice Strong and the sky is falling rhetoric on emmissions trading. Fucking pathetic.

    By Blogger Demiurge, at 3:06 AM  

  • Canada could easily close all coal fired plants by creating an east-west electricity grid. he Federal government should invest in the power lines and these could be built within 5 years.

    By Blogger candu, at 5:36 AM  

  • There is an easy way to phase out coal fired plants.Simply have the Federal government subsidize and east-west electricity grid; build the transmission lines and you have instant success. This is achievable in five years; B.C., Manitoba, Quebec and even Labrador have excess generating power.If we get the provincial governments to cooperate and remove trade barriers between provinces and behave like a unified country, we could achieve most of the targets. Canada could plant more trees and stop the ongoing deforestation,design planes which pollute a lot less, (which is the major cause of atmospheric pollution, most of the pollution on ground level cannot rise, it is too heavy), invest in high-speed trains at a reasonable cost to passengers and we can cut down on car exhausts as well. There are a lot of ways to help and these things will not ruin the economy but enhance it. Besides a recession is already starting in the States and in six months it will affect us as well. That will automatically reduce our energy consumption whether we like it or not. Harper will ruin the country if we have a recession and he stays in power. He will not help with social programs to ease the pain, he does not believe in it. We have a lot of power to change things, let us unite to do so.

    By Blogger candu, at 5:37 AM  

  • Some interesting comments once we sift through the rhetoric. I am blogging about it as many others are.

    Here's the thing: given that most Canadians have a limited understanding of Kyoto other than what they see on the news, is it possible they are going see through this dangerous game of political chicken?

    Do the Liberals have a plan to meet our targets? The NDP? Anyone?

    Not likely. I think the political expediency of using this bill as a club to nail the Conservatives has blinded the Liberal party to the very real challenges and very real unknown implications of actually meeting our Kyoto targets. In short, there's a lot of "what if's" and here's a big "what if".

    What happens if the Conservatives actually do submit a plan - call it a "discussion paper". One where it is specifically designed to scare the living bejezis out of Joe and Suzy Citizen? Suddenly the Liberals have to either support a Conservative plan, vote no confidence or; submit their own plan?

    I said it before and I will say it again. Supporting this bill makes no political sense and I see no gain for the Liberals. If anything, it gives a huge advantage to the Conservatives who will make the fear factor (fear of economic collapse) the key pillar in a yet to be called election.

    Moreover, if the Liberals don't bring down the government on a bill they supported, what does that tell voters about the Liberal party?

    Dangerous indeed.

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 5:52 AM  

  • Here's something else that just came to mind. (my apologies for not including it in my initial comment)

    Election 2007 Debate Transcript:

    Dion: You arrogantly ignored the will of Parliament.

    Harper: As Prime Minister, I have an obligation to support legislation that works for Canadians.

    Dion: This bill required that you deliver an action plan within sixty days. You ignored the bill.

    Harper: You could have submitted your own plan to reduce GHG below 1990 levels. Instead you supported this bill - why?

    Dion: You are ignoring the will of parliament.

    Harper: What's your plan to reduce GHG without devastating the economy.

    Dion: You are ignoring the will of parliament, you are arrogant.

    Harper: What's your plan to reduce GHG Mr. Dion?

    Dion: You are ignoring the will of parliament.

    Harper: Your party bound Canada to Kyoto and for thirteen years you did nothing. What's your plan?

    Dion: You are ignoring the will of parliament.

    Harper: You had a choice sir and for thirteen years your party did nothing. What's your plan? Do you even have a plan?

    That is all... back to sniping.

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 6:05 AM  

  • There is already a substantial energy grid between Manitoba and Ontario. However, an energy grid that extends across the entirety of Western Canada to transfer energy to the East is a somewhat dubious proposition. I'm assuming your talking about electricity as gas and oil pipelines from east to west already exist. However, across long distances you lose alot of electricty, so you'd have a great deal of waste in seeking to move it across the breadth of the country. Furthermore, Manitoba already exports a great deal of its electricity not only to Ontario but to nearby American states.

    In generating clean electricty the best options are really nuclear power plants, as they run cleanly, the waste can be stored relatively safely. The danger associated with them is mostly propoganda and the result of an illustration of the ineffectiveness of a Communist state. Quebec and Manitoba are well placed to exploit hydro resources but that option isn't as readily available for the rest of the country. Some have promoted wind power as some sort of energy salvation. But realistically wind power can't make up any more than 5-10% of total energy generation because wind is variable and quite often runs entirely contrary to peak energy usage. Furthermore, except where used in conjunction with hydro-electricity there is really no good means of storage. Hydro allows for offset as you can simply let a little more water through when the wind dies down, and slow the flow of water when it picks up. This is less wasteful than having to fire up generators for gas, coal or oil.

    Furthermore, its simply not possible to desire a plane which pollutes less and to roll it into production within 3 years in any meaningful manner. That's a longer term project.

    Cars can be made more fuel efficient but again there will be some design lag, and then even with greater mandated fuel efficiency it takes a great deal of time for older models to be replaced on the road. It will likely take a decade for there to be a substantial decrease from changes in the nation's fleet of automobiles.

    You can set up carbon trading markets, but if the level of reduction mandated is 1/3 to 1/2 within three years your not going to accomplish a great deal other than throwing thousands of people out of work. For most businesses the only way that sort of energy savings can be realized is to cease operation. You can mandate reductions of one or two percent per year and provide a longer time period and you're likely to be able to accomplish the reduction. However, change requires time and generally more time than 3 years.

    Ironically the Liberals apparantly expect the Conservatives to accomplish 135% of what they promised to do in less than 25% of the time they had to do it. I supose that could be taken as a vote of confident in the boundless abilities and potential of the Conservative party. More likely its a cynical political move aimed at embarassing the government which seems likely to backfire because its horribly transparant.

    Perhaps after the Conservatives solve global warming in three years, they can spend three monthes ending child poverty, an afternoon bringing peace to the middle east and a couple hours creating cold fusion.

    By Blogger Chris, at 6:15 AM  

  • ivan wrote:
    //What's wrong with paying 'billions of dollars' to other countries in order to reduce emissions?//

    Because we end up no further ahead in actually reducing our emissions.

    The billions can be spent at home building an east-west power grid, in building clean coal power plants, and working CO2 sequestration technologies, and on assisting the transition of the automobile industry, and improving public transit, and retrofitting buildings.

    But all that cannot be done in 5 years. If we had started 10 years ago...sure.

    2012 for a 35% reduction is no longer possible.

    down and out in l a wrote:
    //The real argument is what can be done.
    We may not achieve Kyoto targets but with the right leadership we will begin to head in the right direction.//

    The bill requires the Kyoto targets by 2012...not a good start, not a realistic plan.

    It is irresponsible to put forth that legislation without specifying a plan. The Clean Air Act is in committee...it can be rewritten by the Opposition if they so choose with a real plan.

    I think be merely being "tactical", rather than being "real" is now a loser on the environment. All yesterday's bill demonstrated is that the Liberals, just like the Conservatives, just like all the parties, still have NO PLAN.

    candu wrote:
    //Canada could easily close all coal fired plants by creating an east-west electricity grid. he Federal government should invest in the power lines and these could be built within 5 years.//

    That is not achievable in 5 years. And clean coal with sequestration is arguably a better solution than nuclear for base electricity load, but that is for another time.

    With yesterday's stunt, the Liberals have lost credibility with the informed voter and with the punditry.

    They had now better take improving the Clean Air Act seriously, or yesterday may come back to haunt them.

    By Blogger godot10, at 6:20 AM  

  • John Ibbotson today in the G&M
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20070215.wibbitson15/TPStory/National/columnists


    "One by one, the members of the opposition parties rose in the House of Commons yesterday, and forced through third reading of a wildly irresponsible bill.
    If the provisions of Bill C-288 became law, the federal government would be forced to produce a concrete plan for meeting the 2012 Kyoto targets. This is impossible, and the opposition parties know it, but they are hoping that the theatrics surrounding the bill will embarrass the Conservatives.
    It is, nonetheless, a very dangerous game to be playing.
    Every environmentalist and every politician who understands the current fiscal and political reality knows that Canada cannot and will not meet its 2012 Kyoto target for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions below 1990 levels. This is a truth that is beyond reasonable debate."

    And this is from "Climate Crisis Central" at the G&M.

    By Blogger godot10, at 8:25 AM  

  • Canada can meet its Kyoto targets. HAlf of the reductions here. Half of the reductions elsewhere paid forby us. We all live on the same planet remember. Ontario was already supposed to have shut its coal fired generating plants and two successive governments have waffled. Just mandate their conversion to natural gas.

    Regulate gas miliage and emmisions immediately and start axing ridiculous SUV's and pleasure tucks immediately to get them off the road or make them pay for the Carbon Credits we'll need.

    People who have the money to spend $40 for gas alone on an hour trip to work and back on a route that has mass transit can pay for the credits.

    Use carboncapture measures and geothermal energy sources to power the oil sands.

    We pay now or we pay more later. If we pay more later we will also be paying for destructionof forrests via fire and disease, increased disasters such as ice storms etc.. etc. etc.

    We have the money. We have the capability. All we need is the political will.

    By Blogger s.b., at 8:46 AM  

  • What is suicidal about this bill is this excerpt from todays Toronto Star:

    "If no action is taken, individual Canadians, environmental groups, lawyers – anyone – could take the federal government to court for being afoul of the law, said Montreal Liberal MP Pablo Rodriguez, the sponsor of the private member's bill."

    Now that should be fun...

    By Blogger fair sailing, at 9:30 AM  

  • s.b.wrote
    //Canada can meet its Kyoto targets. HAlf of the reductions here. Half of the reductions elsewhere paid forby us. We all live on the same planet remember. Ontario was already supposed to have shut its coal fired generating plants and two successive governments have waffled. Just mandate their conversion to natural gas.//

    Not by 2012. There isn't sufficient time anymore.

    Nobody is denying that we have to make progress quickly. But clinging to Kyoto by 2012 are now the people living in a fantasy world, and will increasing be seen to be so.

    The time for empty rhetoric and posturing on climate change is over.

    Harper discovered that last fall, that empty rhetoric wasn't enough.

    I'm all for meeting the Kyota targets, but realistically it cannot be done until 2020 or so, and much deeper cuts by 2050.

    Dion better get back to the THREE pillars.

    By Blogger godot10, at 9:57 AM  

  • A few ideas some of you may be interested in.

    1) It's absurd to blame Canada for the emissions produced in extracting oil which is actually burned in other countries. If you take that out of the Kyoto equation (which seems totally fair to me) where does that put us? It'll annoy other signatories, but seriously, this needs to be addressed in the future and it's better than abandoning the goals altogether. In any case, to address the problem that Canada is being punished this way we should enact a BIG export tarif on energy to fund our other plans. In the short run this shouldn't have much of an impact on the oilsands, as they are operating flat out as it is.

    2) "Cool" paint and roofs for Ontario, Quebec, and Southern BC. The paint used for cars can be changed so that it reflects most of the infrared light incident on it. The same can be done for roofs. White is of course the best, but you can get paint in any visible colour (even black!) that reflects in the infrared, greatly reducing the amount of heat cars or buildings absorb in summer, and therefore reducing electricity and gas demand.

    3) "Off" should mean off. It's pretty likely that when you turn off your VCR it's using 80-90% of the power it uses when it's "on". This is absurd, and really ought to be legislated away. Either provide a "standby" mode so that people know that they're wasting power, or require that when appliances are off they can only draw at least 1% of the power they draw while on.

    4) Increase gasoline taxes. Send all of the money collected by the new tax back to Canadians equally a la "Ralph Bucks". No one will stop you from driving an energy hog, but it'll cost you. Yeah, it takes five to ten years to change the fleet, but if we don't take any action it'll never happen. Ramp up the tax over five years if you're worried about shock.

    5) For those who whine about China please consider what the situation would be like if China hadn't enacted the 1 child policy in the 70's? They should get some kudos at least for that.

    By Blogger the dud, at 10:11 AM  

  • Well if we keep insisting it can't be done, then it certainly won't be. I for one am all for trying our darndest instead of doing nothing. And yes it does take legislation.

    By Blogger s.b., at 10:39 AM  

  • One thing I'll say is that the Liberals better damn well have a solid plan in place to meet Kyoto targets they can release during an election campaign or else they'll get crucified.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:27 PM  

  • What a lot of vitriol and silly rhetoric here. The opposition motion is clearly a hypocritical ploy as they would surely not endorse it were they the government.

    On the other hand, the claims that our economy would contract 25-35% are scare-mongering and absurd.

    It's also hypocritical for the Conservs to be denouncing the Libs for doing little on the environment while they were in power. The Conservs opposed every environmental measure while in opposition. I can't accuse the NDP of the same but since they have every societal ill as a priority, they'll always hold the "told you so" high ground.

    Throughout the Chretien-Martin years, the budget priorities for the government, and for the public, were always health care, aid to cities, infrastructure, R&D (remember the "brain drain"?), tax cuts and debt paydown. In the 2002 budget, security and the military had a one-year run as top priority. I was somewhat involved in the budget consultation process in those years and was invariably surprised by how infrequently regular folks would mention the environment as one of their priorities.

    I see also that we have one or two climate change deniers here. Not even Harper's or Bush's government are denying that human activity significantly contributes to global warming and that it is a real problem.

    Renegadejet also makes the ridiculous insinuation that no economist would support agressive emissions reductions.

    By Blogger Abrawang, at 12:43 PM  

  • "Knb is right.. the opposition Parties or any private group could take the government to court, and thats the route I'd take if I were them. Most constitutional law experts I've seen this week say the government would have no choice but to follow this law, and it would probably lose any lawsuit brought against it,


    OOPPSIE !! Actually they can't

    small problem . they haver to repeal an act of Parliament first.

    Section 22(1) of the federal Crown Liability and Proceedings Act provides that "a court shall not, as against the Crown, grant an injunction or make an order for specific performance" - in other words, a court can't force the government to do something or refrain from doing something

    http://www.bloggingtories.ca/btFrameset.php?URL=http://www.damianpenny.com/archived/008883.html&title=The%20%3Ci%3EGlobe%3C/i%3E's%20latest%20hatchet%20job

    By Blogger Fred :), at 12:46 PM  

  • CG the bill has not yet passed. It still must pass the Senate, which is likely considering the Liberal majority there, but the government is quite free to ignore it until it becomes law.

    It would be interesting however to see how that plays out. If/when the bill does pass the Senate, it would be up to the Governor General to give it royal assent. Perhaps the prime ministe would advise her not to do so, essentially vetoing it and preventing it from becoming law?

    By Blogger nbpolitico, at 12:58 PM  

  • nbpolitico I think you are on the right track. Not only must the bill be given royal assent, but it must also be proclaimed by the government.

    From Bora Laskin Law Library:

    When is a statute in force?

    Even after a bill has received Royal Assent, it may not be in force. A statute may come into force in one of three ways:

    1. The statute will state when it comes into force. Such a statement is usually found at the end of the statute.
    2. The statute will state that it comes into force upon receiving Royal Assent.
    3. The statute will state that it comes into force upon "proclamation." The date of proclamation is usually given in the Gazette, a publication used by the government to publish regulations and other notices. Federal bills must be published in the Canada Gazette, Part III before they are official.

    Now, I have read the bill as amended, and I don't see any of these 3 conditions being in the bill. What that means, is that the Government of Canada simply needs to not proclaim the bill, and the whole issue is mute, at least from a constitutional basis.

    Does anyone have another point of view, from a legal perspective?

    By Blogger avb, at 1:19 PM  

  • Interpretation Act:

    5(2) If no date of commencement is provided for in an Act, the date of commencement of that Act is the date of assent to the Act.

    By Blogger Alan, at 1:58 PM  

  • Mister Speaker, I rise today to announce measures that my government must take to comply with Bill C288, otherwise known as the “Pablo Rodriguez Law of Unintended Consequences”.



    In order to comply with the Bill and Kyoto, it is necessary to take some drastic measures to either reduce emissions ort buy credits from other signatory nations of the Kyoto Protocol who do not need to reduce their emission but get to sell these credits.



    Canada got hosed at Kyoto. Jean Chretien’s Liberal government signed Canada to a treaty that means we must reduce our standard of living in order to comply. Bill 288 further obligates Canada to reduce its economy in order to comply and because of the way the Bill is worded, our Government must achieve the 2012 targets within 180 days of the Bill being granted Royal Ascent, so we must act NOW.



    I am instructing a number of government department and agencies to enact the following emergency measure so that we can comply with the will of Parliament, or at least the Liberal, NDP and Bloc Quebecois parts of parliament.



    Immediate shutdown of all coal fired power plants in Canada. We realize that this will hit Ontario very hard – 1/3 of Ontario’s electricity is coal generated, but look on the bright side, the lack of power will also cause the shutdown of thousands of plants and factories, throwing hundreds of thousands out of work. While we are it, we’ll close down all the top ten listed below:


    Rank Company Name Province
    1 Ontario Power Generation On
    2 Transalta Utilities AB
    3 Sask Power SK
    4 Alberta Power Corp AB
    5 Nova Scotia Power Inc NS
    6 Syncrude Canada Ltd. AB
    7 Suncor Energy inc. Oil Sands AB
    8 EPCOR Generation Inc. AB
    9 Petro-Canada AB
    10 Dofasco Inc. On



    Immediate shutdown of the entire Petroleum industry across Canada – we will need to import our oil but we are only going to import oil from countries that will sell us Kyoto Credits.


    Immediately ban all wood burning fireplaces, charcoal and propane BBQ’s and summer campfires. All recreational vehicles and activities are deemed frivolous and will be banned. Sorry Bombardier, no more skidoos and water jet boats. We are investigating how to ban forest fires as well, but that has its challenges. No


    A 30 cent per liter “GhG Kyoto credit buying Tax. Based on recent data that we use about 45 Billion liters of gasoline every year. This new tax revenue should provide enough money to both buy the $10 billion in foreign credits we need annually and make up for the billions in lost income taxes the Federal and Provincial governments will not collect by the 35% contraction of our economy we need to achieve


    We ill not be able to afford generous EI support for all the laid off workers because the numbers could reach in the millions. Shutting down the oil sands alone will result in huge job losses in Alberta, but also in Quebec and Ontario, where tens of thousands of workers make the pipes, valves, machinery, trucks, tires, computers and other equipment that would have been purchased had we not put these actions in place to meet the requirements of the “Pablo Rodriguez Law of Unintended Consequences”.


    For the tens of thousands of workers in the Financial sector, we are aware that the mortgage and credit crisis these moves will cause will result in the devastation of your industry as well but we expect that the Barons of Bay street will be able to salvage a fee jobs trading in the International Credit Trading Market, or as some have come to call it, the Kyoto Hot Air Credit Socialist Sucking Ponzi Scheme. Hopefully you will be one of the few out of the tens of thousands Financial Sector workers who will get one of these new jobs – you might even make megatonnes of money


    Since there will be a huge rise in the number of corporate and personal bankruptcies , our government will be enacting new legislation to simplify the process. Simply nail a sign to your property say “We quit” or for consumer debt, place your cut up credit and bank cards in an envelope. That’s all, no lawyers or courts needed


    We will also be reducing the size of the federal government payroll by at least 35% to meet the requirement to keep the budget balanced to the new and much lower levels of government funds.


    We will be reducing the Federal government transfer of dollars to the provinces to meet the new fiscal capabilities of Canada’s Federal government. We will leave it up to individual provinces to decide to close schools or hospitals or whatever. It’s a provincial responsibility


    Its not all bad news. Canada should be able to save a fortune in Immigration costs. We have a forecast from government experts that Canada will go to last place in the quest for skilled immigrant labour. Somehow they don’t want to come to a country with power shortages, no air conditioning, limited winter heating, no jobs and a devastated economy. Go figure. The USA and Australia will benefit form these immigrants and their skills,



    Mr. Speaker, let me close by thanking the Liberals, especially the mega green leader Citoyen Dion, the NDP, under the leadership of Jack “Talban” bin Layton, the Bloc Quebecois and their inspired of Gilles “Hairnet” Duceppe for voting for Bill C288. But especially all Canadians want to thank Liberal Pablo Rodriguez for devastating our economy, depressing our standard of living to upper third world status. As we huddle in the cold and swelter in the summer heat, as we stare at our old car we can’t afford to drive, as we fondly remember how hard it was to get out of bed on a Monday morning to go to the job we used to have, we can take pride in being the best-est, wonderful-est, the most moralist international boy scouts out to help the planet be saved.



    Thank you Mr. Speaker

    By Blogger Fred :), at 2:12 PM  

  • avb, You mean this part of the Act?

    "NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada enacts as follows:"

    Cheers,
    lance

    By Blogger lance, at 2:24 PM  

  • CG said: "the Liberals better"

    The Liberals? Not "we Liberals"?

    Cheers,
    lance

    By Blogger lance, at 2:30 PM  

  • lance; Well, I won't personally be writting the platform...

    "Whoever is writting the platform better..."


    abrawang; Well put!

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:05 PM  

  • "avb, You mean this part of the Act?

    "NOW, THEREFORE, Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada enacts as follows:""

    Nope. A proclamation provision looks more like this:

    "This Act or any provision of this Act comes into force on a day or days to be fixed by proclamation."

    or this:

    "This Act comes into force on Royal Assent."

    and it's usually at or near the end.

    By Blogger Alan, at 3:06 PM  

  • "I see also that we have one or two climate change deniers here."

    Yes. Very uncomfortable. Who left the temple door open? Bloody atheists!

    By Blogger Alan, at 3:10 PM  

  • I agree, no election til '08 -- although my amateur sense says that Harper should call one now based on this bill and blame it on Dion, if he wants a majority. We'll see.

    I'm kind of disappointed in Dion on this - unless he knows something I don't, this is nuts.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 4:42 PM  

  • Guys, I have to say that I'm an environmentalist and it took me until just last year to decide that man was almost certainly affecting/contributing to warming.

    I'm not the kind of person to jump on board, I was very careful in assuming - I think we really need to start examining our options to reduce emissions.

    We don't KNOW that man is contributing to warming - but we also don't KNOW that gravity exists. Gravity is the best theory we've come up with, and we have to do the best we can. If we're wrong about anthropogenic warming - well, we've got to do our best with what we have available.

    By Blogger Jason Bo Green, at 4:46 PM  

  • For all you folks who "know for a fact" that man is the cause of "climate change" (global warming is out now I see) I think you should wait for the publication of the IPCC report, and not the crap synopsis that was just published. There are many scientists who are not convinced that we can just make this declaration and walk on, they believe that study is still required.

    The jury is not back in on this one no matter how much you try and make us look like holocaust deniers because there is a huge difference in denying a fact ( the holocaust ) and denying a theory ( climate change ). Yup folks, it is still a theory until science can prove it a fact. Oh, and just because you yell that it is a fact, just because the CBC says it is a fact, well, that doesn't make it a fact.

    By Blogger Dwayne, at 5:59 PM  

  • One problem with a lot of the arguments I see here seem to be of the form:

    I need to lose 20 pounds in the next month. I could do it, but it would mean spending like 3 hours in a gym each day, and I'd probably have to cut back on my work. It would be painful, and I probably won't accomplish it.

    [Liberal Point of View]: Okay, let's set some targets for going to the gym, and if we work hard, we can do it without being too tough on ourselves.

    [Conservatives]: Well, I know no way will I actually be able to meet the targets, so pass the chips, please.

    By Blogger UWHabs, at 6:38 PM  

  • It would appear the Prime Minister has experienced a change in heart.

    He's up to something methinks...

    Assuming it becomes law, he could very well table an action plan with impossible targets that would cripple the economy - suddenly the shoe is on the other foot. Begs the question: do the Liberals indeed have a plan to reduce emissions below 1990 levels without harming the economy?

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 8:02 PM  

  • Kyoto = economic suicide.
    We would have to shut down every coal fired power plant, shutdown our oil processing facilities stop driving and transfer 10 Billion dollars to buy credits. That doesn't stop the pollution, it just transfers money to another country which " promises" that they will cut their emissions. Wouldn't it be better to spend money developing new technologies rather than buying paper credits? If it is such a pressing issue now, why didn't Dion do anything as Environment minister. The reason is that they know Kyoto targets are impossible to achieve without killing the economy. This is not a good policy for the libs to take to the next election. The public will crucify Dion, and rightly so.

    By Blogger Velcro, at 12:02 AM  

  • UWHabs,

    If your analogy of 20 pounds in one month was correct than I would agree that it would be hard but could be done.

    Unfortunately it is not correct.

    It is more like 100 pounds in one month and you weigh 225 pounds. And you are not pregnant and just ready to give birth.

    Yes, it could be done. Liposuction would not be enough. And you would be very, very sick afterwards.

    MississaugaPeter

    By Blogger Peter, at 9:43 AM  

  • The main stream media punditry laughed at Harper's first version of the Clean Air Act.

    Now they are laughing at Dion.

    Credibility is a precious thing.

    http://www.thestar.com/opinion/article/182294

    Dion stripped of his environmental edge

    Liberal leader will pay dearly if he wins next election and can't deliver on costly, divisive promises
    Feb 16, 2007 04:30 AM
    Chantal Hébert

    Over a period of little less than three months, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion has turned his green armour into a straitjacket.

    Now that he has led the opposition parties into passing a bill forcing the Conservatives to implement the Kyoto Protocol, the worst thing that could happen to him would be to win a snap election this spring and then be forced to live by the terms of Bill C-288.

    A Liberal government would face two stark choices:


    # Preside over a major federal-provincial crisis that would make the occasional Ottawa-Quebec blowouts sound like Chinese New Year firecrackers.

    # Own up to the fact that the bill the party sponsored is a legislative sham, on par with the 1993 Liberal promises to eliminate the GST and renegotiate NAFTA.

    ....more... in article

    By Blogger godot10, at 10:20 AM  

  • From "Climate Crisis Central" @ the Globe and Mail, this editorial.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/
    story/LAC.20070216.EKYOTO16/TPStory/
    TPComment/Politics/

    Behind the gloss of Liberal Kyoto virtue

    The opposition parties, led by the Liberals, have pushed legislation through the House of Commons to force the government to meet Canada's obligations under the Kyoto Protocol on greenhouse-gas emissions. No responsible government could come even close to reaching those targets without bankrupting the treasury. But in an effort to score political points, Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion has stubbornly plodded ahead, smearing the gloss of virtue on this economic and political folly.

    Global warming is a reality. Canada has a moral obligation to curb its emissions. But instead of adopting smart policies, Mr. Dion has embraced a deeply flawed treaty -- when it is no longer clear that it is in Canada's best interests to remain a party to that pact. No doubt, the Liberals are congratulating themselves on their political savvy, convinced that they have painted Prime Minister Stephen Harper into a corner by depicting him as an anti-global-warming crank.

    But it is the Liberals who are in a fix, cornered by their own doctrinaire allegiance to the pledge to slash greenhouse-gas emissions to 6 per cent below 1990 levels during the period from 2008 to 2012. Meanwhile, Mr. Harper has cannily adopted a green approach to governing. While he has not pledged to meet the Kyoto targets, next month's budget will reportedly make substantial investments in an emission-reduction plan. The Prime Minister is recasting himself as a green politician who still cares about economic growth.

    ...more in article...

    By Blogger godot10, at 10:25 AM  

  • An intelligently designed environmental policy doesn't necessarily have to hurt the economy. Studies have shown that, in some cases, increasing carbon taxes and using the money to cut job-killing taxes can be economically-neutral or even beneficial, while cutting GHG emissions (the so-called "double dividend" hypothesis). One such study was conducted by global warming skeptic Ross McKitrick.

    I discuss the issue in greater length here:

    http://economics.about.com/b/a/257047.htm

    By Blogger Mike, at 10:51 AM  

  • Mike wrote:

    >>Studies have shown that, in some cases, increasing carbon taxes and using the money to cut job-killing taxes can be economically-neutral or even beneficial, while cutting GHG emissions (the so-called "double dividend" hypothesis)<<

    You are assuming that the average run of the mill voter is prepared to support carbon taxes, right? I'm just mentioning this because if that carbon tax is applied at the pump, you might want to brush up on the outcry when gasoline became a buck a litre. (Yes, I know people still paid it and still drove their SUV's)

    Moreover, we're starting to see the negative consequences of high gas prices with the Big 3 auto makers laying off thousands because people aren't buying gas pigs anymore.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that the average voter probably relates their support for bein' green to the bottom line in their bank account.

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 11:42 AM  

  • I don't disagree with you, Sean. I'm not assuming anything about voters, because I wasn't making a political point. I was making an economic one.

    My point was that a well-designed set of environmental and tax policies does not have to impose great costs on the economy (and in fact could be economically beneficial), despite what the Conservatives might have you believe.

    Whether or not those policies are politically feasible is an entirely different issue.

    By Blogger Mike, at 11:51 AM  

  • One of the things that is making me want to gouge my eyes out with a broken beer bottle is the lack of discussion about short term impact on the economy. It's one thing to say, "reducing to pre-1990 will devastate the economy" or "reducing to pre-1990 won't hurt a bit" and the rhetoric of this debate eliminates any meaningful discourse.

    My instincts tell me the average voter would look at the two polarized viewpoints and err on the side of caution at the ballot box.

    By Blogger Sean Cummings, at 12:05 PM  

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