Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Apocalypse Mirage

Baird delivered his intellectually dishonest assessment of what significant GHG reductions would mean. The apocalypse is a mirage:

Liberal environment critic David McGuinty said the study is skewed because it artificially restricts the use of international emissions trading and ignores the job creation that would come with a new focus on green technologies.

Dewar quoted Sir Nicholas Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank, whose study in October estimated it would take two per cent of gross domestic product in advanced countries to reduce emissions to an acceptable level. Dewar said he believes Canadians would accept such a cost.

The government analysis itself admits that the costs would be much lower with different assumptions. A section titled "alternate scenarios" says unrestricted access to international emissions credits would cut the cost to about $25 a tonne, rather than $195 a tonne.

The study assumes that Canada can get only 25 per cent of its reductions through international credits, even though the Kyoto treaty imposes no such restriction.
Stewart Elgie, a professor at the University of Ottawa who focuses on carbon markets, says that single assumption inflates the cost of compliance by 700 per cent. He also criticized the study for ignoring the benefits of curbing emissions.

Is it 195 dollars per tonne or 25 dollars a tonne? What a sham, particularly when Baird trumpets figures which fail to acknowledge options at hand. So, you can drop the cost almost 8 fold, which puts the alarmist rhetoric into perspective. Couple that fact with the failure to acknowledge any positive benefits to the economy, through green technologies, and you have a decidedly different picture.

I believe it will be almost impossible to meet our Kyoto targets in the short term. Having said that, that admission doesn't mean we shouldn't do everything in our power to get as close as possible, which is realistic. The true intentions of this government are revealed, with their preference for joining this fraud of an group. H/T Woman at Mile 0:
In a somewhat surprising development, Canada, a long-time supporter of the Kyoto Protocol, announced that it may want to join the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6), a six-nation coalition focusing on voluntary emission-reduction steps and technology transfers. Many environmentalists oppose AP6 out of a fear that it may undermine political support for the legally binding Kyoto treaty.

the Asia-Pacific Partnership is voluntary and technology-based, and lets each country set its own goals for greenhouse gas emission reductions, rather than legally binding them to a greenhouse gas reduction target. The group sees itself as "a voluntary, non-legally binding framework for international co-operation to facilitate the development, diffusion, deployment, and transfer of existing, emerging and longer term cost-effective, cleaner, more efficient technologies and practices

Baird went to Washington last week to argue for further emissions reductions beyond Kyoto. It would appear Mr. Baird's real purpose was to give the Americans the heads up that we were prepared to join the Bush shell game, to deflect environmental criticism. Voluntary, non-binding, which lets the participant countries do what they wish, that sounds like a winner!

I wonder if the other Bush crony, Australian PM John Howard, is starting to do the economic math of inaction:
Australians should pray for rain, because if substantial rainfall does not come in the next month the Government will ban irrigation in the country’s agricultural heartland so that there is enough to drink, the Prime Minister said today.

John Howard’s warning heralded a dramatic increase in food prices and the prospect that tens of thousands of farmers could see their crops fail.

Amid the worst drought in the nation’s history, Mr Howard said an expert panel had advised the Government that it had no choice but to turn off the water irrigation systems in the vast Murray-Darling basin in eastern Australia, an area about four times the size of the United Kingdom.

Its 55,000 farmers supply virtually all of Australia’s stone and citrus fruits, vegetables, cotton and rice. It is also the location of many of the nation’s vineyards.

It is expected that food costs in Australia will begin to rise immediately, and there were predictions that scores of farmers would be forced off their land.

Estimated cost, 30 billion dollars. Experts generally agree that this current crisis is related to climate change, which again begs the question, what exactly is a cost, what is the cost of doing nothing? The Asia-Pacific Partnership will be looked upon with utter disdain and contempt by future generations. Baird embraces nothingness, while simultaneously misleading Canadians. The apocalypse may be at hand alright.

10 comments:

Scotian said...

(reposted from last thread, something I rarely do but it is as relevant here as it was there, hope you don't mind Steve V)

Harper and his ilk for the last decade have had the same refrain, first that the problem didn't exist, then existed but was naturally caused alone, and now finally they pro forma acknowledge some man made impact, but one refrain has never changed...that it would bankrupt the economy of the country to do anything about it. That is always what they say, they said it 10 years ago, 9, years ago, 8 years ago, 7 years ago, 6 years ago, 5 years ago, 4 years ago, 3 years ago, 2 years ago, last year and now this year. Well know thanks to all their denials and delays the costs of doing something have increased AS A DIRECT RESULT OF THEIR OPPOSITON!!!

This has been a steady strategy all along, and it is never supported by anything resembling a comprehensive economic analysis. All the economic analyses that we see from Harper and the CPC overstate the economic potential for harm, fail to consider any positive economic impacts from new economic activity in developing means to make the economy greener, and invariably neglects to mention that the costs of inaction are many multiples of times worse than even the worst case estimates from the deniers own so called economic impact studies.

Since the CPC and Harper can no longer get away with denying the problem exists at all and retain any political credibility (this of course clearly being the sole reason why Harper suddenly saw the light"/had an epiphany on this issue to begin with) he is left with only one card left. That of course being the doom and destruction to the economy card, which unfortunately for Harper also seems to be losing more and more credibility outside of the hardcore CPC circles and those climate change deniers more interested in their bottom lines than their responsibility to the nation by being economically and environmentally responsible. Indeed, I wonder just how much Harper’s positions are driven by his Albertan connections, but then we would have to know who donated to Harper's respective leadership runs for both CA and CPC leader.

In any event it looks like Layton's lifeline last fall gave this CPC government a way to waste another six months just to bring nothing to the floor. Listening to QP today it is clear that Harper will *NOT* be bringing forward the new and improved bill C-30. Back when all three opposition parties denounced the CAA there was a lot of public pressure building that could have forced Harper to act in a way he clearly does not want to do. Instead of letting that pressure continue to build and hopefully actually force action Layton threw Harper that lifeline, and look what that accomplished, NOTHING!!! If this is what Layton and the NDP considering actually making Parliament work and getting something done on this file/for the environment then they really need to buy a dictionary because such meanings only work in fantasy land and not the reality based community.

Steve V said...

scotian

It's basically the same post anyways :)

I might as well pickup on my response in the last thread. I would catergorize the Alberta economy as operating beyond full employment, with growth rates objectively troublesome. With this reality in mind, coupled with the obscene corporate profits, is the harm done once again over-stated? You could still have good growth, but sustainable, that better uses a fixed resource over the longterm.

knb said...

What the...?

It is too early to see the real significance of Canada's request to join the AP6.

We've requested to join? Requested? Not "they are considering". Of course, they haven't mentioned this to Canadians, oh no, that would be far too honest.

I wonder why this didn't come up through McGuinty today? Or, the righteous NDP?

This sham of a government gets more disgusting by the minute.

I'm so angry I can't even type.

knb said...

Oh and what is this good Liberal saying? Is he pointing out the hypocrisy of this government and his pals. Of course not, he's giving Baird tips on how to "spin" us.

What a jerk.

Dana said...

How much water can we sell to Australia once we're hooked into AP6? Cause that's the greatest virtue isn't it? Selling stuff?

And how come Australia hasn't built desalinizing plants every 100 kms along the coasts? Ideological blindness, you reckon?

Fair dinkum.

Anonymous said...

Bush has only approx 1-1/2 years left (if not impeached) of his tenure. In 2008 if Democrats win they will be interested in Kyoto. Also some republicans (John McCain said on an interview with Tim Russert a while back he believed in Kyoto and even going further).

Now, why on earth is Harper going along with the Bush plan when Bush won't be in power much longer? Oh, I don't suppose Bush/Cheney want as much of our natural resources and they can steal from us - hmmm.

Dumb or what!

knb said...

You know, Don Newman asked Baird a good question. How could non-partisan civil servants come up with this, when just a short time ago they did studies that supported Kyoto. His point, aren't they at the mercy of their masters and the tools and mandate they are given? Baird said, the staff had changed. Huh? All the civil servants in this area have been replaced? That is quite a mouthful.

It also has me thinking about the removal of the the Environment Auditor and how the gov't is cool with that.

Steve V said...

Baird said the Liberals "want to have there cake and eat it too". It would seem that saying applies to Baird's logic that you can have substantial reductions without actually harming the economy.

Newman finally had Baird concede that any initiative would have a cost, so it will be interesting to see if they release figures with their bill. Baird should also factor in the billions we are spending as taxpayers to bail out industry.

Scotian said...

knb:

Don asked Baird another excellent question which he ducked completely. That being why if we are not going to be trying to meet Kyoto mandated agreements levels according to the CPC plan why the CPC government does not intend to pull us out of Kyoto by 2008 to prevent Canada from being hit with the penalties that come into effect in 2012. Baird did not want to go anywhere near that one, no indeedy. Did you catch that? It sure stuck out like a sore thumb to me, on the one hand Baird is saying we can't meet Kyoto targets because of the costs so don't try for them yet at the same time claims to be believing in the importance of Kyoto and staying in it despite the costs of the penalties that will be applied if we don't pull out. It was one of the more impressive displays of eating your cake and having it I have seen from this government and Minister, which given Baird's history of such is no small feat.

Steve V:

Yes, that is another aspect which I think is not lost on the wider public, and is one of the reasons I think the economic doom and gloom arguments are no longer cutting the weight they once did. It seems rather difficult to believe that trying to do anything about GHGs in Alberta's energy sector would cripple it, let alone have the impacts the NEP ended up having. I think given the obscene profits the energy sector has been making over the last several years while claiming Kyoto would destroy them economically most of the public thinks that argument is a cover for greed and not actual fact. The reminders of similar prophecies of economic devastation from affected industries during the acid rain clean up debates and the subsequent lack of any negative consequences also undercuts this fear mongering. This is a card that has been played too often as it is, and combined with the clear annoyance towards the energy sector (oil and gas) for their obscene profits over the last few years at what appears to be the average citizen's/taxpayer's expense I think it will continue to lose potency without some very hard and solid backing. Which means not just worst case scenarios as we have been seeing from Baird and Harper but when all various significant variables and variations are examined and considered.

This is just the latest in the years long refrain of Kyoto will bankrupt Canada from those opposed to actually being environmentally responsible let alone accepting the reality that their main livelihoods have helped to place the entire human race's survival at risk. The level of dishonesty we have seen from the opponents of dealing with this issue and especially of implementing the Kyoto protocols all this time is something that shows they are more willing to risk the possible survival of our species than to risk some economic discomfort (and less than even the more conservatives estimates of economic damages from the effects of global warming) and possible reduction of profits. Which at a several year period of record profits is simply inexcusable, period. Thankfully, I suspect this is something becoming more prevalent in the wider public mindset on this issue as well, and it would not surprise me that much if this issue was not only a major election issue but even the election question itself. Although we will have to wait until the next election has happened to know for sure what the election question actually proves out to be.

knb said...

Scotian, I'm embarrassed to say that I missed that, because I was so damned angry that I flipped between channels to see just how deep his dishonesty would go.

This is the planet that he is freaking toying with...how is that okay?

Oh, I'm sooooo angry. This is NOT a game people.