Ottawa tries to find the Balance – Friday’s Globe Editorial

The Globe Editorial confidently starts with this claim:

“Canada is blessed with an abundance of oil and gas . . “

This abundance is now a mixed blessing: Canada is one of the largest per capita contributors to GHG emissions.  Canada now has the difficult task of weaning Canadians off fossil fuels.

“[The Globe]:

Figuring out how to [reduce emissions] is the most important, complex and politically fraught issue on Ottawa’s plate.  . . .  The goal of any sane environmental policy should be the largest reduction in carbon use at the least economic cost.”

Important, complex and politically fraught?  No question!  After a quarter century of doing next to nothing how could it be otherwise?

At COP 21 last December, Canada committed to reduce its GHG emissions. This commitment is no way qualified by conditions about costs that will be occurred.  Canada cannot again fail to meet emission reduction targets, particularly at a time when the disastrous consequences of failure are plainer than ever.

[The Globe]:

“In fact, it is possible to come up with a policy that allows the economy to grow, the oil and gas industry to expand, the free market to functions, and the environment to benefit from Canada meeting its commitment to significantly lower greenhouse-gas emissions.”

Take that Naomi Klein!!

The Globe went on to link a growing economy with pipelines:

“On the left, many believe the only way forward is to say no to any and all new pipelines. But that approach has huge economic costs – and when it comes to greenhouse gas reductions, limited environmental benefits.  . . . Choking off the supply of Canadian oil – which the lack of pipeline capacity has been doing for years – won’t reduce Canadian’s demand for oil, nor will it lower global demand.  It will simply mean that our country will buy more of its oil from overseas.”

The Editorial referred to Federal approval of the $36 billion Pacific Northwest BC liquefied natural gas project, a project that for many years has enjoyed the complete support of the BC Government.  A step that The Globe suggests sets the stage for approval of the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Transmountain line from Alberta to Burnaby B.C.

Both these projects are aimed at exports oil and not at supplying the Canadian market.  The only new Pipeline that potentially could displace overseas oil is Energy East to Eastern Canada, a region that currently relies principally on imported oil.

To summarize:  We don’t agree with the Globe: Canada’s future demand for oil can be met by domestic supplies, as it is now.

[The Globe]:

“The Government is working with the Provinces to put a Pan Canadian price on carbon, a policy designed to lower the consumption of carbon based fuels by putting a price on it. . . . Curtail demand, not supply.”

The premier of BC responded to Ottawa’s approval of the LNG pipeline by supporting a Canada-wide carbon tax. Other Provinces might seek concessions in return for supporting a Canada-wide carbon Tax.  Reaching any outcome will be resolved by political haggling and not by respect for our international commitments.

Did the Globe editorial support contribute to yesterday’s  introduction of a Federal Government’s program for a national Carbon tax?

Possibly, but regardless: the Federal Government has put its policy markers in the ground.  The real issue is not whether Saskatchewan agrees, but whether the announced policy will be effective.


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