Thursday, October 29, 2009

Canada and Green House Gas

The Syncrude oil sands extraction facility is reflected in a lake reclaimed from an old mine near the town of Fort McMurray in Alberta. AFP/Getty Images
***From a news report in the Globe and Mail.

The Final Report on Economic Study on Greenhouse Gas Targets and Policies for Canada has just been released and the heading on today's Globe and Mail article suggests that Canada can meet its emissions targets if western Canada foots the bill.

I don't think anyone is surprised that the Tar Sands project would have to pay big for its emissions. Nor should it surprise anyone that western Canada would be helping out the recession-hit central provinces. Since the dawn of equalization payments -- where rich provinces provid money to poorer provinces -- and prior to the recession, Ontario and Quebec paid the bills. Now it will be the West's turn. Why is this a problem?
Isn't that the way our country is supposed to work?

In terms of gas emissions, however, Canada has missed the leadership boat. According to the Globe article, the government's targets of 20 per cent reductions by 2020 are considered less-than-adequate by environmental groups  yet even these won't be reached unless Prime Minister Harper undertakes substantial interventionist polices NOW. Policies that aren't planned for. Like reaching emissions targets is something new that our government stumbled -- rather than stomping -- upon last week.

"Meeting the more stringent standards recommended by environmentalists and many scientists would impose even more onerous burdens. Nonetheless, the report stresses, both sets of goals could be met while still preserving economic growth throughout the decade.

“'While addressing climate change in Canada is certainly not going to be as easy as changing our light bulbs, it won't be as bad or economically difficult as some fear-mongers have been saying,” said Pierre Sadik, director of government relations for the David Suzuki Foundation. And it pales, he said, in comparison to the environmental and economic impact of unchecked emissions growth'"
 So, we can do it. But we have to get started now. Canadians are used to the idea of a little pain now to stave off a lot of pain later. Remember how we got behind deficit reduction -- that terrible time that put us in good stead for today's recession?

Maybe before the stimulus money is all gone we could spend a little more (read: divert huge amounts) green development and R&D. What do you say, Stephen? Please. Pretty please. You can do it. The left is so splintered that even if 65 per cent of us don't vote for you and you loose some of your base, you'll still win the next election. And just imagine, if you do well enough with the environment, you might even win a few of us over.


No comments:

Post a Comment