Thursday, January 24, 2008

Globe And Mail: Whatever You Say Ed

Stelmach's fraud of a climate change plan was released today, which basically argues that Alberta will carry on unabated, leaving it to technological advances to make up the difference.
Most of the 200-megatonne reduction would come through the use of expensive technology to capture CO2 from power plants and industrial facilities and inject it deep underground, the premier added.

Stelmach plays the Harper/Baird game, using 2005 as the baseline, as opposed to the internationally recognized 1990. Obviously, this benchmark allows for the appearance of more progress than is really there, a decision which reveals much about intent. Stelmach argues that Alberta can reduce emissions 14% below 2005 levels by 2050. Stelmach then offers this logic:
The long-term goal of the plan is to reduce emissions to 14 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2050, an effective cut of 50 per cent if emissions continued to increase at their current rate, Stelmach said.

All jurisdications could use this argument, just as a function of, economic and population growth. All that matter is the bottomline, 14% reduction, based on a dubious starting point.

The playing with the numbers brings us to the Globe and Mail, Canada's journalistic beacon. The Globe and Mail headline:

Alberta aims to cut greenhouse gases by half by 2050

Globe and Mail Update

January 24, 2008 at 2:54 PM EST

CALGARY — Alberta has set a target to cut its projected greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2050...

A shining example of journalistic scrutiny there, the G and M intentionally misleads with this ridiculous headline. Someone should tell British Columbia's Campbell that no, he isn't committed to a 33% reduction by 2020, it's really more like 50-60% factoring in doing absolutely nothing, in a growing economy. Wait until Minister Baird does his own math- you thought Canada was leading the world now, just wait!! What rubbish.

WANTED- Journalists with critical eye, that don't parrot whatever is fed to them, able to distinguish themselves as something other than a conduit for political propaganda. Norval Scott need not apply.


Steve V said...

Title has since been changed to "Alberta sets target to cut greenhouse gases by 2050". First line still reads "Alberta has set a target to cut its projected greenhouse gas emissions by half by 2050"

National Post headline:

"Alberta unveils weak climate change policy"

That's better.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I think the climate plan is weak, that being said I don't think a climate plan with any real teeth would sell publicly. Alberta will be a laggard here, so my hope is that provinces like Quebec and British Columbia follow through on their plans and when it becomes clear that the economy doesn't crumble, then public support in Alberta will be stronger. I would argue in the case of the United States, that states like California need to take the lead as the public there is more supportive of taking action than say in Texas.

As for the baseline year, I think you need a common one, although my preference would have been 1997 instead of 1990 (but with deeper cuts to compensate for the seven years) simply because this was when Kyoto was signed. My concern is 1990 was chosen since this would have involved the smallest cuts for the EU. The reason for this is this is when Britain's industrial north went into major decline and communism collapsed in Eastern Europe causing many inefficient factories to close as well as this was also the case for Germany when the two Germanies were re-united. However, any change in the baseline should be global, not done unilaterally and the overall reductions should be the same on average.

Steve V said...


The main reason why 1990 is important, it levels the playing field for international agreements, the scientific recommendations use this math. If you have countries unilaterally using their own measurements, it just confuses the discussions.

It will be interesting to see how Albertans react to Stelmach's plan.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

Steve - I am not disagreeing with a common set date. I only suggested 1997 as opposed to 1990 since that is when Kyoto was signed, however I agree you need a baseline.

Dame said...

Hmm.How old would Stelmach /and his government/ be by 2050???

V said...

Who cares what the baseline year is? Start acting and stop postponing. All the numbers are dodgy anyways, so time to move beyond these numbers and get acting.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I would also add the issue is not just the baseline as V said, but what is being done. British Columbia I think is using a more recent baseline, but because their cuts are 33%, they have been lauded by many environmentalists. In many ways cutting 33% sounds a lot better to the public than saying 6% below 1990 levels so even though a baseline should be used for international negotiations, if politicians figure a more recent baseline would sound better politically, that is fine by me.