Tom Fletcher reported in this space, the demise of B.C.’s “carbon trading” scheme. This green initiative came into being as a result of then-premier Gordon Campbell’s global warming fetish and his desire to be one of the “cool green kids” like Arnold Schwarzenegger, then-governor of California.
These champions of fanciful taxpayer-funded programs to “combat” global warming deluded themselves that by agreeing to sacrifice the well-being of their electorate to the carbon gods, the global temperature would drop by half a degree or so per century. Campbell’s gift to the planet came in the form of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act of 2007.
The ineffective gasoline carbon tax is a result of the act, and while having no impact whatsoever on the global temperature, it has had the effect of making goods and services in B.C. less competitive than those in the neighbouring jurisdictions. At the same time, the tax results in a net loss of revenue to the province. The tax is designed to provide “rebates” for low-income folks who may be impacted by the tax on gasoline. As economic realities and the high gasoline prices (as a result of the tax) discourage gasoline consumption, the amount of tax revenue collected declines, but the level of rebate to the poor stays the same. Redistributive at best, asinine in the main. No impact on climate or the environment.
There is the government designed, and now dysfunctional “free market solution” of the Pacific Carbon Trust. This august body was meant to be an exchange where carbon emitters (just about all business) could buy special dispensations to emit carbon dioxide, in the form of “carbon credits”. The sellers of these carbon credits would be special groups, chosen by the governments involved in the trust, that met a range of largely undefined criteria. These groups would be granted credits, free of charge, to be sold through the trust. What could possibly go wrong?
The trust is, or was, funded originally through the purchase of carbon credits by B.C. government institutions, using tax dollars in a ridiculous merry-go-round of tax resources. The Liberals mandated all government institutions reach carbon neutrality.
There is a litany of quixotic initiatives in the 2007 act, including grants to municipalities to encourage locally conceived green madness with the inevitable misallocation of tax resources. Penticton taxpayers are saddled with a Climate Change Action Plan, that will do nothing to impact climate, but guarantees taxpayer dollars locked in the plan will not be available for things like roads, bridges and hospitals.
Another major failure of the act is B.C.’s participation in the Western Climate Initiative.
The WCI was a body created to figure out how to sell energy to California, which has the most absurd green regulations known. BC Liberals were chagrined, to say the least, when the Golden State deemed our hydro electricity not green enough for consumption in that state. The WCI is a classic failure of government in general, and the B.C. Liberals in particular. Alberta and Saskatchewan wisely avoided this nonsense.
The notion of reducing carbon dioxide (not carbon) was sold to the public as a way to forestall catastrophic global warming. The B.C. Liberals climbed aboard the “low carbon” bandwagon, largely in an effort to claim the “green” high ground from the NDP in 2007. Their challenge now is that there is an increasing realization that there is no relationship between increased CO2 in the atmosphere and rising temperatures. In fact all the data show CO2 concentrations rise after climate warms.
With the serial failures of the UN’s climate control efforts through the IPCC, the mounting evidence of observed temperature and climate drivers that disprove the computer models upon which the climate alarmists depend for cover, and now the release of emails dubbed Climategate 2.0 that reinforce the dishonest and unscientific actions of the few key characters in the global warming industry, it is reasonable for governments to revisit their whacky climate change regulations.
The B.C. Liberals have done plenty to discourage investment and enterprise in B.C. Repealing the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act with its Carbon Dioxide Tax and Carbon Trust would be a signal that B.C. is actually open for business. This is unlikely, as the Clark government seems intent on going it alone on carbon dioxide reduction — putting B.C. businesses at a competitive disadvantage and driving the cost of living of average British Columbians higher and higher. Meanwhile, the planet appears to be cooling.
Mark Walker is the publisher of the Penticton Western News.