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Not worth the wait

26 Jun 2019 | OP ED Watch

The federal Conservatives finally unveiled their climate plan that will satisfy everyone because it stops global warming without a carbon tax. Except it satisfies nobody because it’s so obviously a PR document not a policy document. Andrew Scheer might reasonably have expected to get razzed from the left no matter what he said. But the National Post’s John Ivison accused him of constructing “a Potemkin village” while his colleague Andrew Coyne sneered that it was “an intentionally pointless piece of misdirection”.

Now it might be argued that neither Ivison nor Coyne are really “right-wing” especially as both keep imagining a new improved conservatism hard to distinguish from liberalism. Ivison in this very piece called the plan “a missed opportunity” because “Scheer could have offered a bold vision of a new conservatism, rooted in the desire to preserve and protect the environment.” And Coyne is a true believer on man-made climate change who rather famously urged Scheer to grovel instead of defending free speech after he groveled instead of defending free speech as if making enemies of your friends would make friends of your enemies (or be honourable or prudent even if it did). But both are hard-headed about economics and policy and both find the Conservative document a laughable fake because it is one.

For starters, it wants to take credit for reductions abroad due to Canadian technology. But as Ivison and Coyne both indignantly observe, international climate treaties are quite clear that you can’t do so without the permission of the country where they happen. And with virtually everyone stumbling their way to missing their Paris targets badly, you’re not going to get free emissions from anybody. For another, as Coyne rightly notes, the plan promises to meet our own Paris targets but “contains no estimates of how much its measures would, in fact, reduce our emissions” or how it would make heavy industry invest in green tech or meet nebulous emission standards. And it’s very heavy on the sort of micromanagement by government that conservatives hate until they start designing policy.

In short, the plan is cynical and its tone not a little childish. Especially when we learn less than a week later that the plan would actually put a price on carbon that the Tories are feebly insisting is not a “tax” or even a “price” because they’re not calling it one. This rubbish from the party that is meant to believe reality is not optional and words cannot take the place of deeds.

If the Tories were grown-ups they would either say man-made climate change is real and produce a serious plan to reduce Canada’s emissions, or stand up to the mob on the supposedly settled science. Instead they faked their homework. And got caught.

3 comments on “Not worth the wait”

  1. "For starters, it wants to take credit for reductions abroad due to Canadian technology. But as Ivison and Coyne both indignantly observe, international climate treaties are quite clear that you can’t do so without the permission of the country where they happen."
    There may be lots of things wrong with the CPC non-plan on climate, but this isn't one of them. If climate change due to carbon emissions is a global problem, you have to solve it globally. And since Asia is the biggest problem here, due to its consumption of carbon-intensive coal energy, that is where most of the reductions, and all of the lowest-cost reductions, will, of necessity, have to be found. As some wag has said, if Canada's carbon emissions ended completely tomorrow, we would delay climate Armageddon by only 3 weeks.
    Shipping more Canadian oil and LNG to Asia to replace their dependence on coal will do more to reduce carbon emissions, at a lower cost, than anything else Canada could possibly do. It is a win-win-win proposition that I have been urging for years, with little up-take. The criticism that Canada would get love from Paris for doing this is completely bogus. It's like saying, "Yes, we face a climate emergency, but unless I get credit for saving the planet, why bother?" People who only care about what "credits" we might get from some UN agency are virtue-signalers, not problem solvers.

  2. Here are the words of a real Tory who understands the problem and provide the solution that our government can't see.
    “So in a speech to scientists in 1990 I observed: whatever international action we agree upon to deal with environmental problems, we must enable all our economies to grow and develop because without growth you cannot generate the wealth required to pay for the protection of the environment.”
    Margaret Tatcher.

  3. I would love to see the Conservatives “stand up to the mob” but I wonder what would happen. Would the electorate love them for their honesty and realism and vote them to a majority, or would the howls of outrage from the usual suspects frighten the people into shifting to the “safe” centre? I fear the latter, as does Mr Shear I guess, how sad!

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