GOLDSTEIN: Trudeau’s prohibitive climate plan

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Since Canadian governments have never achieved a single greenhouse gas reduction target since 1988, a new report from Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux explains why the Trudeau government will not meet its latest target for 2030.

Technically, Giroux’s report – Beyond Paris: Reducing Canada’s GHG Emissions by 2030 – describes the “prohibitive costs” that Canadians will have to pay and the “extraordinary measures” required by government and the private sector.

But given the dismal emissions reduction record of both Conservative and Liberal governments, it is inevitable – my words, not Giroux’s – that Canada’s unbroken 33-year record of failing to achieve a single target will be 42 years in 2030.

Giroux’s report explains the negative economic impacts of trying to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s goals, including huge government grants and private sector spending, the costs of which will be paid by Canadians as taxpayers, consumers and workers.

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As an example, says Giroux, sales of electric vehicles, currently 3.5% of the market, are expected to increase to 50% from next year, requiring “prohibitive” government subsidies to boost sales and ” significant fixed capital costs ”to build the necessary electrical infrastructure.

The price of gasoline and fuels for home heating will skyrocket, economic growth will be reduced and the incomes of workers will be reduced, especially those with a lower level of education and especially in the oil and gas sectors. gas and transport.

(The government says its carbon tax rebates cover more than the cost of carbon taxes for most households, but this only applies to Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, and individual households have little capacity to independently assess this.)

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The PBO estimates that by 2030, under Trudeau’s policies, the effective all-inclusive carbon price in Canada will be $ 261 per tonne of emissions. (Think 62 cents more per liter of gasoline and 52 cents more per cubic meter of natural gas, compared to no carbon tax.)

A carbon price of $ 261 per tonne will break the Trudeau government’s promise before the 2019 election it would not exceed $ 50 per tonne in 2030, and after the election it would not exceed $ 170 per tonne in 2030.

Giroux predicts that if everything the government plans to do works, it will reduce Canada’s annual emissions from 730 million tonnes in 2019 (the latest year for which government figures are available) to 468 million tonnes in 2030.

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But that will fall short of Trudeau’s latest target of 40% to 45% below 2005 levels by 2030, meaning a reduction of 30 to 66 million tonnes of additional emissions.

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(As a perspective, Canada’s total emissions from the electricity sector in 2019 were 61.1 million tonnes).

Basically, Trudeau’s goal is to reduce Canada’s emissions to between 292 million and 328 million tonnes by 2030.

Compare that with Canada’s record in reducing emissions since the Conservative and Liberal governments began making promises to do so in 1988, when our annual emissions were 588 million tonnes.

From 1988 to 2019, emissions increased by 142 million tonnes, with Trudeau now promising to reduce them from 292 to 328 million tonnes by 2030 and to zero net emissions by 2050.

Giroux estimates that Trudeau’s current climate change policies will reduce Canada’s economic growth by 1.4% in 2030, cut labor incomes by 1.2%, hitting low-educated workers hardest, with the strongest revenue declines in the oil and gas (10.5% to 10.7%) and transportation sectors (3.2% to 4.6%).

Giroux notes that his estimates do not include the cost of not tackling climate change and the possibility of green technologies contributing to economic growth.

But he also cautions that it operates on the “inherently optimistic” assumption that the Trudeau government will choose the cheapest measures to reduce emissions.

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