BC VIEWS: ‘Climate action’ charade continues

Premier Christy Clark rushed by the Justin Trudeau government to come up with a new greenhouse gas plan

The moving deadline for B.C.’s latest bold plan to control Earth’s weather with taxes has slid from March into June.

Now that Premier Christy Clark has jetted back from her latest liquefied natural gas sales trip to Korea and Japan, brace yourself for the big reveal of Climate Action 2.0, as the second stage of B.C.’s strategy has been termed.

The pending LNG industry is just one problem for this reality-challenged scheme to maintain B.C.’s self-declared global climate leadership.

Clark’s “Climate Leadership Team,” a mix of industry, academic, environmental and aboriginal representatives, was appointed a year ago to make recommendations for the next step. It concluded that B.C. isn’t going to reach its 2020 emissions reduction target, even if the government implements the team’s recommendation to resume steep increases in the carbon tax starting in 2018.

B.C.’s carbon tax and its questionable “carbon neutral government” program have not reduced the province’s greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. They’re going up, and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why.

Tacking seven cents onto the price of a litre of gasoline may have had an effect at a time when fuel prices were high. That and a global recession actually did reduce B.C.’s greenhouse gas emissions for a while.

Then Saudi Arabia decided to depress the world price of oil, cancelling any carbon tax effect for people driving up to the pumps in B.C. and stimulating fuel demand around the world.

Now our population and economic growth are rising again, along with carbon emissions. And LNG production and export can only add to that increase.

The urgency to create Climate Action 2.0 was so Clark could join Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on a triumphant visit to Paris last winter to work out the latest international climate deal. Trudeau then started to let his own urgent climate crisis deadline slip back.

This routine has been going on since Jean Chrétien signed Canada up for its first fantasy target in Kyoto, Japan almost 20 years ago. And the prospects for Paris don’t look much different.

Don’t take my word for it. Nicholas Rivers, Canada Research Chair in Climate and Energy Policy at the University of Ottawa, wrote last week of the Paris deal: “These targets essentially require that developed countries such as Canada completely eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 or shortly after.”

“Completely eliminate.” Not only does that mean an end to the oil and gas industry, it means no more air travel, unless somebody comes up with a battery-powered airliner pretty soon.

Note that Rivers is describing the actions expected of developed countries. China has agreed that its steeply rising greenhouse gases will level off “around 2030,” according to the pathetically one-sided deal negotiated by U.S. President Barack Obama in 2014.

Trudeau has decided that provinces must find their own path to a carbon-free Utopia. Alberta has moved ahead with its own carbon tax, loaded onto the energy industry in the midst of a collapse. Its main effect will likely be to send the Alberta NDP back to the opposition benches.

Ontario is considering a ban on coal for power and natural gas for home heating, plus huge subsidies for electric cars. This should continue the upward spiral of electricity prices in that hapless, mismanaged province, which has already seen runaway subsidies to wind power and cancellation of gas-fired power plants.

Here in pre-election B.C., take everything you hear about healing the planet with a grain of salt.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

 

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