Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Sky Is Falling

If pessimistic, exaggerated, alarmist rhetoric is your cup of tea, John Baird prepares a fine brew:

The Conservative government is preparing to table an economically apocalyptic estimate of the Kyoto Accord's implementation costs to Canada, CTV News has learned.

A leading Canadian environmentalist told The Canadian Press earlier Wednesday that she expects Environment Minister John Baird to present new research to say Canada can't meet its Kyoto commitment when he appears before a Senate committee on Thursday.

"We expect Mr. Baird to paint a picture of economic collapse if we comply with the Kyoto targets," said Louise Comeau of the Sage Centre, an environmental think tank.

She said the government has commissioned research based on assumptions that produce astronomical estimated costs.

Robert Fife, CTV's Ottawa bureau chief, is reporting the following details from the study, which he said has been backed by independent economists:

The economy would shrink by 4.2 per cent if Kyoto is implemented. "It says it will cause a recession on par with the 1981-82 recession."

Job losses will total 275,000 by 2009

Electricity costs will jump by 50 per cent by 2010

Gasoline costs will jump by 60 per cent almost immediately.

Home heating oil will double.

I wonder how many of these "independent" economists are associated with the Fraser Institute, or happen to have stock in Suncor?


Sassy said...

Not scared Mr. Baird,

If that is what it will take to save the planet and all life forms - so be it, unless of course, you [Mr. Baird] have a "based in reality" alternative!

Yours truly,

janfromthebruce said...

I bet its the independent outfit "The Frontier Centre for Public Policy" with Dr. Tim Ball a climate change obfucator lurking in the background.
The same great bunch that the Harper govt hired to check out proportional representation. Two public policy smoke jobs by the same 'independent [but not of big oil bucks] public policy think tank whose mission is "to [not]broaden the debate on our future through public policy research and education and to [not] explore positive changes within our public institutions that support economic growth and opportunity [for the very special few].

Susan said...

I guess that's why they recently disbanded the government's own top experts recently and of course sent the environment commssioner packing - so they could bring in the hacks who will say and do anything for the glory of Mammon. Mr. Blah Blah Blah won't be able to pull this one off.

Gayle said...

That is interesting. Harper does not want us to have to pay for the future of Canada. I wonder how much he thinks his children will have to pay in 20 years.

I do not have kids so why should I care - let his kids pay for my self indulgences.

Stephen said...

Wow. That isn't even subtle. Not even close to subtle.

lance said...

Course, none of us predicted this.

The failing isn't in the message, the failing is being tied to it.


Anonymous said...

Opening up my kool-aid stand right here. Gonna make a fortune!!!

In_The_Centre said...

I was going to dismiss this report until I saw a particular non-partisan authority/expert on the issue endorse it.

Don Drummond, TD's senior economist, who basically urged the use of carbon tax as part of a long term comprehensive plan in reaching long term targets, has endorsed the findings of this report. (

The Liberals consulted him heavily throughout the late 90's and into Dion's tenure as Environmental minister.

“I believe the economic cost would be at least as deep as the recession in the early 1980s, and indeed that is the result your department's analysis shows,” Mr. Drummond writes in a letter to Mr. Baird obtained by The Globe and Mail.

It attempts to force the Harper government to meet Canada's targets under the Kyoto accord for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

Mr. Drummond's letter appears to be a political boon for the Tories, and a blow for the Liberals, as parties gird themselves for the possibility of an election campaign fought on hot-button issues such as Kyoto.

It will be difficult for the Liberals to attack Mr. Drummond, a senior Canadian economist whom political parties, including Mr. Dion's, have consulted over the years. He wasn't paid for this latest opinion, which the Tories solicited from him.

Very interesting development. I know many of my fellow Liberals turned against Kyoto targets in late 2006 (But believe in California/BC style 2020 targets).

In terms of my own positioning on Kyoto, I dropped my support for 2012 Kyoto targets a while back. However, I wouldnt mind seeing those targets met in 2015.

Adam said...

Conservatives will fight tooth and nail to do as little as possible on carbon reduction plans, while trying to maintain the appearance of doing something. That is why it is absolutely critical that the parties on the left do what they can to ensure Harper does not get a majority government--it would be four more years of inaction, and the longer we wait, the more combating climate change will cost.

ottlib said...

It will be a one day story.

Ordinary Canadians will look at it, say "Who is Don Drummond?" and wonder who to believe.

Canadians do not trust governments to tell them the truth so they will know that they will need to take the report with a grain of salt. That is particularly true if it as doom and gloom as reports claim.

As well, Canadians are still concerned with global warming so they are still waiting for the government to come up with a plan to deal with ghg emissions. When they do Canadians will see it being tagged team by Stephane Dion and Liz May. That will be fun to watch.

Anonymous said...

One economists view - hmmm. I'd like to see the views of several economists.

Dana said...

It fascinates me that Harper/Baird et al can continue to frame the whole issue as important only in terms of what responding strongly *today* would bring about.

Are they really that temporally handicapped? Do they not believe there even *is* such a thing as a future? I jeebus coming?

Probably they still think it's all a plot.

Steve V said...

Just to be clear, I don't think we can meet our Kyoto targets, particularly since we have wasted another year and we have a government that is keen on ramping up tar sands expansion. The problem with the Conservatives, they don't offer ANYTHING in the near term, when realistically we could achieve a great deal- if not meet Kyoto, come within reason.

Also, do these economists factor in the cost of inaction? We have heard other reports that factor the cost of rising GHG's? Do these economists factor in the offset benefits of new technologies, domestically driven? If you want to look at this issue in isolation, you can paint whatever picture you choose, but there are other competing factors at play. How much is the government speading on the pine beetle, which is a direct cost of global warming??

knb said...

Steve, no they do not factor in anything that would actually lend the report any credibility.

It strikes me that Baird's strategy is to lie, scare us to death and then present yet another toothless plan and we'll lap it up.

His arrogant presentation of the report, laced with the requisite liberal bashing, is one big song and dance. I hope to hell that Canadians are smart enough to see through this really bad vaudeville show and I really hope that people in the know, have a very loud voice on this matter.

The time that has been wasted on their stupid game is shameful, but of course, the longer they put this out, the less able we become of meeting any targets.

BTW, did he say just last week that the committee weakened the Clean Air Act? Now suddenly the amendments put forward are so powerful that it will lead to Canada's economic ruin? I realise at this point he's arguing against the Rodriguez bill, but the why haven't they put forward the ammended Act?

Steve V said...


That's a great point, last week it was "weakened". Following that logic, the original Tory plan would have put us into the dark ages.

BTW, the Australian drought, worst in recorded history, which is attributed to changing climate, will have an estimated 30 billion negative effect on agriculture. If there aren't significant rains to replenish the rivers within the next month, the government will ban agricultural usage, to sustain drinking water. Put that in your balance sheet and smoke it :)

Scotian said...

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...


Well said. Just to add one more point about the doom and gloom. Some of the industries in question, are recording OBSCENE profits at the moment, which further detracts from the argument that they can't sustain some adversity. Consumers are gouged, while CEO's line their pockets, and this should be our prime consideration?

knb said...

You're right Scotian, Layton directly contributed to the delay of any action on the Environment.

Honestly, not tabling the amended act is obscene.

btw, the NDP really are desparate. In QP an NDP Minister is blaming the Liberals for the soft wood lumber deal.

The con's and the NDP, seem to think it's just fine and dandy to lie to Canadians. It's really become sad.