Tuesday, May 03, 2016

National Observer Calls Bullshit on Trudeau, Again.

When it comes to climate change and Canada we're awash in talk but marooned when it comes to meaningful action. Cap'n Sunny Ways seems to be focused on blowing smoke up our arses claiming that we can win the struggle to curb climate change by peddling ever more dilbit, the world's highest-cost/highest-carbon ersatz petroleum.

The folks over at the National Observer cut through all the petro-state bullcrap with a dandy comparison of carbon emissions in Canada versus those in the United Kingdom. Hint: one of these nations is sharply reducing its greenhouse gas emissions while the other is sharply increasing its total emissions.

For starters, let's deal with the apples and oranges issues. Canada is a nation of 35 million people. The UK isn't quite double that, 64 million.  We have a huge country with our population concentrated in a thin band along the American border stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The UK is, by comparison, minuscule which translates into certain advantages on things such as transportation and fuel consumption. Okay, on with the show.

Although Britain has by far the larger economy, $2.5 trillion versus our $1.5 trillion, their emissions have fallen by 35% since 1990 while Canada's have risen by 20% (and we're just getting going). As shown above, around 1998 our growing total emissions passed Britain's declining total emissions. And we've never looked back either.

For Mr. Trudeau and Canadians, the UK provides a real-world example of a wealthy, top-tier economy, in a northern region, that has managed to significantly reduce their emissions and meet their climate promises.

As a bonus to the UK, their falling emissions are priming their economy for the coming tectonic shift to a post-carbon world. Today the UK economy produces $4,800 in GDP from each tonne of climate pollution (tCO2). Canada makes less than half as much, at $2,200. As we will see below, as soon as it become imperative to reduce climate pollution then continuing to expand the lowest-GDP emissions in your economy become a serious problem.

Canada's up-coming climate target for 2020 was made by former Prime Minister, Stephen Harper in Copenhagen. ... we are currently more than a hundred million tonnes above where we promised to be.  

The article goes on to blame Canada's dismal showing on two factors - motor vehicle emissions and, of course, the Tar Sands.

Back in 1990, Canada and the UK emitted similar levels of climate pollution from their nation's cars and trucks.

Since then, however, Canada's vehicle emissions surged 44 per cent, while the UK's declined slightly.

What did the UK do differently?


For one thing, starting back in the early 1990s, the Conservative government of Prime Minister John Major decided that the UK would be better off if it was less dependent on gasoline. So they implemented a "Fuel Duty Escalator" that increased gasoline taxes an average of around seven cents per litre, per year, for a decade.

...To put that gas tax increase in a climate perspective, it's exactly the same as increasing a carbon tax by $30 per year, for ten straight years. A G8 reportlabelled this UK policy a “best practice” for addressing climate change. In Canada, British Columbia's Climate Leadership Team recently recommended a similar, though much less ambitious, proposal to increase its official Carbon Tax by $10 per year.

...As Mr. Trudeau plans carbon pricing he might want to keep in mind that he would need to add a $500 carbon tax on gasoline to match what the UK does already. BC's proposal to increase its Carbon Tax by $10 per year would require fifty years (!) before it matches what the UK has already done.

Then, of course, there's the Athabasca Tar Sands problem. What to do, what to do? Here's what it looks like based on the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers numbers:

First take a look at the orange line -- CAPP's "slower growth" scenario. Tar sands pollution surges to 17 per cent of our national emissions budget by 2030. Amazingly, this is what happens if we don't build more pipelines.

Now check out the red line showing CAPP's "faster growth" scenario. That's what we get with one or two more big pipelines. Mr. Trudeau is pushing hard for this scenario. Tar sands emissions leap to around a quarter our nation's climate budget by 2030. And they are heading steeply upwards from there.

Problem number two is that Alberta's tar sands industry produces very little wealth and very few jobs, per tonne of climate pollution they release. This is called carbon efficiency and it is measured in $GDP produced per tCO2.

Today, Canada's economy averages$2,200 in GDP per tCO2. That has to jump to around $4,000 for us to meet our 2030 climate commitment while also maintaining our standard of living (per-capita GDP).

The Alberta tar sands industry produces only around $400 in GDP per tCO2. Ten time less than what we need.

The same holds true with Canadian employment. The tar sands produce ten times less employment per tCO2 than the national average.

Canada has never created any plan, which if followed, would meet any of our targets. Mr. Trudeau promised to deliver a 2030 plan by the end of his in first 90 days in office. But he didn't. Instead he pivoted to pushing a "faster growth" expansion of tar sands without first having a plan to handle the resulting flood of emissions. Sound familiar?

Once again Junior sounds eerily like the guy we just ditched. He talks a good game but it's pure bullshit.