Monday, July 28, 2008

Bairds Delay and Pollute Plan

Baird returned, over the weekend, taking one of his trademark, analogical, shots at the Liberals Green Shift plan.

A Canada-wide carbon tax would be akin to a "pay-and-pollute" system, Baird said yesterday in Vancouver.
However anyone who has ever tried to weed their way through Baird’s plan (as I tried to do yesterday) would quickly realize that, although there seems to be a lot of concern expressed and data presented, it is a tad short on a sense of urgency.

Turning the Corner which was first released in April 2006, actually reads as if the authors just discovered that there was pollution. Over 60% of the so called plan describes in inscrutable detail how harmful greenhouse gases, and other pollutants are to us.
It is packed with slick marketing titles, charts and historical inaccuracies all presented to project the new conservatives as the saviors of the environment. Take the first paragraph for example.

An Action Plan to Reduce Greenhouse Gases and Air Pollution, which will see the federal government for the first-time ever force industry to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution.
That would be correct, of course if their was no acid rain back in the eighties when Trudeau and Carter started and Mulroney and Bush senior finalized the Acid Rain agreements (unfortunately Reagan was more like Bush junior).

Anyway Turning the Corner is presented as being flexible with a myriad of options.

Companies can choose: In-house reductions, Contributions to a capped technology fund, Domestic emissions trading and offsets, access to the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism and limited one-time credits for early action prior to 2006.
And there will be tough targets:

That will “come into effect as early as possible between 2012 and 2015” and they “will be at least as rigorous as those in the U.S. or other environmental performance leading countries”
Wait a minute here, the U.S. hasn't believed in global warming since Bush junior took office. They didn't even admit that human activity and the resulting greenhouse gases had an effect on the environment, until this year. Even Bush claimed he was "biggest polluter in the world".

But don't worry there will be benchmarks.
Each industrial sector: pulp and paper, electricity, petroleum refineries, chemical production facilities, aluminum smelting etc. will be benchmarked similar to those sectors in other countries and jurisdictions (including the U.S).
What about the 800 lb. gorilla at the table?

Finally, for the oil sands sector, which is unique to Canada, there are no comparable regulated sectoral emissions limits in other countries that would enable a comparison with other jurisdictions. In this case, sectoral targets were established using a multi-step approach.
And in collaboration with the oil industry and the oil producing provinces they set a plan that will allow continued, unabated expansion of the tar sands with the future promise of implementing a future technology that will start to have an effect sometime in future.

Of course someone will have to figure out how CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage) will work on a such a large scale.

But hey Baird has targets and no one has to pay, today.

References: Carbon Capture Reality Check at Discovery here, and Baird's comment at the Globe here

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