GOLDSTEIN: McKenna’s carbon tax fantasies utterly absurd

GOLDSTEIN: McKenna’s carbon tax fantasies utterly absurd

In it’s growing desperation to convince Canadians that its carbon pricing policies will work, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is becoming divorced from reality.

This was demonstrated again last week when Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna claimed Trudeau’s decision to reduce the impact of his national carbon tax on Canadian industries won’t negatively affect the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction commitments he made to the United Nations under its Paris climate deal.

“It won’t have an impact, we’re absolutely committed to those (targets), we’re still going to get the emissions reduction …” McKenna told CBC’s The House.

That’s a ridiculous claim by a government trying to obfuscate the fact its national carbon tax will cost Canadians billions of dollars annually while failing to lower emissions to anywhere near the levels the Trudeau government claims.

Allowing companies to exceed their previous emission thresholds (from 70% of the industry-wide average to up to 90%) means it will (a) cost them less money to emit GHGs and therefore (b) increase emissions.

It’s another nail in the coffin of McKenna’s political credibility, given her continued insistence Canada will meet its Paris commitments to reduce emissions to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, 30% by 2030.

That claim is absurd.

In March, Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner Julie Gelfand and auditors general from every province and territory except Quebec concluded in a joint report, “Perspectives on Climate Change Action in Canada” that, “most governments in Canada were not on track to meet their commitments to reducing (GHG) emissions … Canada is not expected to meet its 2020 target … Meeting Canada’s 2030 target will require substantial effort and actions beyond those currently planned or in place.”

In December 2017, the Trudeau government acknowledged in a mandatory submission to the UN that even if it implements its entire climate action plan, including projects not started, it will fall 66 megatonnes (Mt) annually short of its 2030 target, its 2020 target abandoned.

A 66 Mt annual drop in emissions means the equivalent of shutting down Canada’s agriculture sector (60 Mt annually), in less than 13 years and still leaves the government short.

In October 2017 the UN said in its “Emissions Gap Report” Canada will miss its 2020 and 2030 targets by a “wide margin”, unless it buys billions of dollars worth of carbon offsets annually on global carbon markets.

In March 2017, the National Post reported McKenna was advised by government experts soon after taking office that Canada’s carbon price would have to be $100 per tonne by 2020 (not Trudeau’s $50 per tonne in 2022) to meet Canada’s UN commitments.

In its annual report on Canada’s GHG emissions released in April 2018 the Trudeau government said Canada will have to lower its emissions by 191.6 Mt annually in less than 13 years to meet its 2030 UN target, the equivalent of shutting down almost all of Canada’s transportation sector, which emits 199 Mt annually.

The only time the Trudeau government claimed any hope of meeting its Paris climate targets was in another April 2018 report called, “Estimated impacts of the Federal Carbon Pricing System”.

It said Trudeau’s carbon price could theoretically reduce Canada’s annual emissions to within striking distance of its 2020 and 2030 targets, but “the scenario presented in this document is for illustrative purposes only. It is not intended to signal any expectations on the part of the Government of Canada.”

In other words, the prediction was a fantasy.

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