I am interested in progressive politics, citizen participation, real democracy and a full range of public policy issues from an Albertan and Canadian perspective.
This is a mischaracterization. As I discuss on the Environment tag of www.bdell.ca, markets alone should not be expected to protect the environment. What we reject is the over-prioritization of CO2 abatement such that billions in costs are incurred for unknown, if any, benefits. Unilateral CO2 abatement policies are demonstrably ineffective but the P"C" party will push them, or any policy, if the polls suggest they should
Great, I will be looking forward to the carbon tax then! If the Tories are genuinely committed to protecting the environment then they will introduce one. Otherwise, it is just propoganda. As Jeffrey Simpson noted in Today's Globe - Alberta's policies towards GHG emissions are the worst in the western industrialized world. The Independent, an English newspaper, has called the Oilsands, 'the biggest environmental crime in history'. Quite a record and legacy for the next generation hey?
We have a carbon tax in Alberta - $15 per tonne on large emiters - payable after a certain allowable limit is surpassed - it was legislated last July.
That's just spin. A real carbon tax would be structured like the one recently announced in British Columbia. The Tories propose a 15% reduction in GHG emissions from current levels by 2050. If the world only achieves a 15% cut by 2050, then the planet will experience run away warming because to stabilize concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere, the planet need approximately an 80% reduction by that time (the planets ability to absorb carbon is decreasing). Considering the above, it is reasonable to conclude that the Tories (and the Liberals aren't much better) have embraced significant global warming which will mean a future of fishless oceans, rising sea levels, decreasing food production, etc. As I said, quite a legacy to be leaving to my generation. Your generation and a bunch of amoral corporations get rich off the oil sands, which shouldn't ever be developed for environmental reasons, and my generation gets to live through the collapse!
I think what enviroman meant by "carbon tax" was "carbon tax that is high enough to encourage companies to significantly reduce emissions." I'm not an expert on this, but I believe the likes of Simpson/Mark Jaccard have said that the tax would have to be closer to $50/tonne to have an effect on emissions.
enviroman,Yeah, Jeff Simpson is a renowed expert on Western Canada and GHG emissions, writing his columns from some little cafe in Yorkville, Ontario.Do you even have a source for your claim about "Alberta's policies towards GHG emissions are the worst in the western industrialized world"? A more accurate statement would be GHG emissions policies are more important to have in Alberta because of our hydrocarbon-based economy. As an example, you needn't have a GHG emission policy in, say, Manitoba since:(a) they hardly have any oil and gas, and(b) they are awash in hydro power (look at a map, half the province in under water)At least Alberta HAS some policies around GHG emissions, unlike, say Ontario, where McGuinty has blathered about closing old coal-fired plants for his entire term in office and hasn't yet done so.Poll in yesterday's Calgary Herald that asked "would you be willing to pay more for gasoline to limit CO2 emissions"? Answer was overwhelmingly no. Everybody is an "enviro-man" until they get the bill.Rather than talk, Alberta is acting. Maybe not as fast as some would like, but they are futher ahead than any other province.
Brian Dell,I noticed your bio talks with pride about your time working for Department of Finance on the income trust file. Great work... that was the first leg kicked out from under the oil & gas industry. That WAS the exit strategy for a lot of juniors... and you helped to kill it. Next time, maybe get your tax advice from someone other than Gwyn Morgan. For a guy that waxes about how opaque the provincial PCs are, the "evidence" as to tax leakage from income trusts was all blacked out, CIA-style, as I recall.
Enviroman - it is not spin, it is just a start and I agree it is an insufficient long term policy response to the GHG responsibility Alberta has if we are to develop the oil sands responsibly and sustainably.We citizens need to show policy makers that this matter needs a much more robust response than we are seeing.BC is the beginning of a new normal on GHG and at $100 oil there is no excuse for not getting this done more significantly and swiftly.CO2 capture and sequestration is a minimal level of demand on the oil sands development. Water and natural gas use, tailing pond rehab and reclamation obligations all have to be part of the responsible and sustainable development of the oil sands.Albertans have to insist on this...for many reasons including intergenerational equity.Thanks for the comment and rebuttal.
Seems like a bunch of hot air coming from Hancock. He has been a minister in this government for awhile and is to blame for the terrible environmental record. You can spin it the way you want to but Albertans are not stupid.
thx anon for the superficial "analysis" in your comment. Got anything of substance to say maybe with some facts and an even slightly deeper insight to share?
Thanks for your thoughtful response Ken. I still say the only sane policy is to leave as much of the oilsands in the ground as possible. First, the environmental toll is huge. Even with sequestration (which is unproven at this point) the above ground combustion (in cars, planes, factories, etc.) produces emissions. For environmental reasons we need to engage in the difficult struggle to produce greener forms of energy. Secondly, we are (either now or in a few years) entering the era of peak oil. Increased oil production from the oilsands will not make up the difference in global production levels. Oil will increasingly become a less important source of energy as other forms of energy become cheaper than oil. Alberta will be slammed by this because the goal of economic diversification has been and will continue to be engulfed by the huge growth we've seen in the oil sands. At some point we will have to say no to the plunder of the oil sands and the greed which is spurring it and start developing an economy that will prosper in the upcoming post-oil era. Unfortunately, our politicians don't talk about this problem at all, atleast not in public.
Enviroman - CO2 capture and sequestration is proven. The variable is the impact on CO2 in making prevously abandonded wells economically productive again. That is a bonus.I would like to explore your ideas off line...If you are interested send me an email so we can connect.
Ken:Why would a large industrial emitters pay the the $6o per tonne cost to install CCS technology on their equipment when they can pay $15 per tonne into a technology fund. I think you know that the carbon price has to be set at a level high price to send a signal to LFEs to invest in CCS. $15 per tonne does cut it.Frank
Anon. @ 3:04. Jeffery Simpson isn't an internationally-renowned expert, but the coauthors of his book, Nic Rivers and Mark Jaccard are. Once BC's policies are implemented, they'll be light years ahead of Alberta.A carbon tax is only a carbon tax if it applies to every tonne of carbon, not only those that follow an allowable limit. Ken- I'm glad that you recognize much more needs to be done, but how do you expect Albertans to mobilize in favor of more stringent actions if pundits like you keep writing congratulatory posts like this one?Leaders are leaders not only because they went first, but because their policies are cutting edge not anachronistic. The fact that Alberta had the first Environmental Ministry means nothing once one sees the toxic tailing ponds in Northern Alberta and our completely ridiculous climate change "strategy".At that point using the first ministry in the country argument becomes pretty laughable.
Last week Environmental Defence issued a report heavily critical of Alberta's approach to the tar sands. While pointed, it was well-grounded in fact. Stelamch's response was to call the authors "silk-suited environmentalists", echoing the Klein/Love legacy of dismissing anyone who spoke up for the environment. The question I would like to ask the Premier is "Just so I get my demonology right, which is worse: the silk-suited environmentalist or the long-haired Birkenstock-wearing environmentalist?
Why should businesses that operate as income trusts be tax advantaged over businesses that operate as corporations? Corporations were not as competitive in capital markets and accordingly Canada's entire business asset base would eventually end up being controlled by trusts, who could outbid corporations. The income trust was sound policy. There were some arguments against and I made them, but I haven't seen those arguments anywhere outside Finance Canada. The Wildrose Alliance is not kicking any legs out from under the oil & gas industry, my friend. Ed Stelmach's decision to raise royalties on deep, high impact gas wells was poor resource management and simply bad policy.
Agreed again Brian - I like the CPC policy on income trusts for the reason you stated...I just wish the Harpercrites were honest enough to have campaigned on that policy stance and not the opposite. Can we trust their word? Not once they were in government. And there are lots of other examples of why we should distrust the Harper Cons too.New rates on royalties are not kicking the legs out of the O&G industry. Commodity prices, operating costs, the dollar and the US recession are the real culprits. Alberta't take, after royalty increases is the second lowest on the planet. We should be charging an extra fee for providing assured access in a place where producers have political stability. Not many O&G sources in the world can tout that advantage over Alberta.Besides why are we destroying the environment for morre high cost marginal wells anyway? Think long term my friend - not just the day after tomorrow.