Thursday, April 04, 2024

Climate Fools

Max Fawcett writes that Conservative climate policy is a joke:

There’s a growing irony in the carbon tax increase falling on April Fools’ Day every year, since it now offers an annual reminder of just what a joke the Conservative Party of Canada’s approach to climate change has become. As if to really underscore that point, former CPC environment and climate change critic Dan Albas shared a piece from a retired economics professor named Steve Ambler that seemed to question the science behind climate change. "If greenhouse gases are a problem,” it reads, “they’re a global problem. Canada can do nothing by itself to solve it.”

That “if” is a massive tell, but it’s hardly the only one in the piece. It also suggested, bizarrely, that a recent study shows “we should be subsidizing rather than taxing the use of fossil fuels” and trades in the obvious straw man that Canada is supposed to solve climate change on its own. What’s worse than these sloppy arguments is the fact they were published in The Hub, an online publication that’s generally regarded as the home of serious and sophisticated conservative thought in Canada. Its willingness to endorse what amounts to warmed over climate change denialism speaks to just how far the Conservative movement it supports has slipped since 2022 when Pierre Poilievre took over as leader.

Poilievre is a master of the glib phrase that fits well on a bumper sticker. But he's a threat to the planet as well as Canada:

We should instead be talking about what a Poilievre government would do here and what that could mean for our future. Might it eliminate the entire carbon pricing infrastructure, including the industrial pricing system that long predated the federal carbon tax and will do the heaviest lifting on Canada’s emissions? Might it even pressure provincial governments in Alberta and Ontario to repeal their own industrial carbon pricing systems?

That’s a very real possibility. And while it would thrill those within the Conservative base who helped elect Poilievre as leader, it would also put Canada at odds with the vast majority of our major trading partners at the very moment when they will be accelerating their investments in clean energy and decarbonization. In the process, we would surrender whatever control we might have had over the energy transition’s impact on our export-oriented economy. As University of Alberta economics professor Andrew Leach noted in his recent book, “There is no option for business-as-before. Our choice will increasingly become whether to act responsibly on our own initiative or have standards imposed on us by the rest of the world.”

One has to ask what planet are the Conservatives living on? And just how bright are they? Stupidity is a social disease. It spreads like syphilis and it eats human brains.

Image: National Observer


Anonymous said...

The price of gas here in Victoria has gone from about $1.65 per litre to about $2.00 from the beginning of the year until the end of March...a 35 cent increase by the oil companies. Not a peep from anybody, no protests, no Poilievre. Now the government raises the tax on a litre of gas by 3.5 cents a litre and everybody is setting their hair on fire. How does this make any sense?

Climate change is not taking a break because of affordability issues so we can't take a break from fighting climate change either.

If gas is too expensive for you, drive less. After all, that is the whole point of the carbon tax.


Northern PoV said...

"have standards imposed on us by the rest of the world.”"

That is the optimistic view.

Alas, no gov't in the world is taking the climate crisis seriously enough to act substantially at home, let alone abroad.

We are really going to miss the beaches.

Lorne said...

"And just how bright are they? Stupidity is a social disease. It spreads like syphilis and it eats human brains."

Truly, Owen, in that the Conservatives are in a class by themselves.

Owen Gray said...

We'll miss a lot of things, PoV.

Owen Gray said...

The carbon tax is about changing behaviour, GDN. Lots of people don't want to change their behaviour.

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Lorne. I wonder if the Conservatives ask their candidates to take a test that calculates that stupidity.

Trailblazer said...

During PP recent visit to Nanaimo BC PP was asked what he would do about global warming ( no it's not climate change).
He answered that he would invest in nuclear and tidal , no mention of solar or wind!


Owen Gray said...

There's so much Pierre doesn't know, TB.

jrkrideau said...

If that article by Steve Ambler is an example of the high standards of The HUB, this is not encouraging for Conservative thought in Canada. He seems to have accepted, unquestioningly, the writings of William Nordhaus and Bjørn Lomborg, Dieu nous aide!

I had a quick look at Ambler's C.V. I am not an economist but I don't see anything in his publication record that makes me think he has any expertise in environmental issues.

William Nordhaus, a winner of the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, otherwise known as the Nobel Prize in Economics, has faced just a few criticisms on his environmental work. The Intercept has an interesting article about him, When Idiot Savants Do Climate Economics .

Bjørn Lomborg is famous/notorious for The Skeptical Environmentalist. IIRC, a Danish gov't agoncy investigated the book and decided that the economist was not guilty of deliberate distortion or falsifying anything. He, just, was too ignorant of the subjects he was writing about to understand his errors. He does write well.

In terms of Poilievre, I am sure he has the same respect for science as Steven Harper.

Owen Gray said...

With each passing day, jrk, am flummoxed by people who refuse to believe what their own eyes are telling them.

jrkrideau said...

With each passing day, jrk, am flummoxed by people who refuse to believe what their own eyes are telling them.

Well I'm prejudiced but economists are very good at this. If facts and theory differ, many orthodox economists, especially of the Chicago School, accept that the facts must be wrong.

Owen Gray said...

The Chicago school still believes Adam Smith lives, jrk.

jrkrideau said...

The Chicago school still believes Adam Smith lives

A hae ma doots that any of the Chicago School have ever read Adam Smith. They simply believe the legends.

It's a bit like the mythology surrounding Galileo. He was a brilliant researcher but about 90% of what the general public "knows" about him is false.

Owen Gray said...

It's easier to believe myths, jrk.