Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Baird - Enviro Confidence Man

He sure sounds like he means it - but he's just pulling your crank.

EnviroMin John Baird has "served notice" on Canada's big industrial polluters that he's cracking down. They've got six months to disclose their greenhouse gas emission levels and cutbacks will begin next year. Yippee for us!

But there's a catch, a lot of catches. The one that matters is the one that Baird won't mention, his plan still is "intensity based." That means you can keep pumping out even greater amounts of greenhouse gases so long as the processes you use are a little bit cleaner.

All in all, it's welcome news for Baird/Harper's prime constituent - Big Oil and their mega Tar Sands project.

Matthew Bramley of the Pembina Institute also criticized the government's use of so-called intensity targets. Loosely put, intensity targets are a per capita measurement system that allows a company's overall pollution to increase as long as its emissions drop for each product it makes.

"There's just a huge amount of spin ... It's extremely misleading,'' Bramley said.

"The oil sands sector will be able to meet these targets while tripling its actual emissions.''


Scruffy Dan said...

Intensity based targets are the favored plan of action for politicians wanting to have the appearance of doing something while actually doing nothing.

The fact is that emissions intensities have been dropping for decades. Being efficient and cutting costs is good business. Unfortunately the climate doesn't care about how efficient our emissions are, it only cares about the absolute levels.

So unless you are willing to address the absolute levels of emissions you aren't doing very much

Anonymous said...

I just watched The National where an AB oil lobbyist and/or Provincial Government official completely undressed a Grade 4 kid who, when asked what he would do as leader, stated: pass a law that says people can't pollute.
The tool responded by noting without pollution, the school couldn't be powered.
Too bad the little tyke wasn't aware of renewable energy, carbon neutral construction, and the rephrase: pass a law that says people should pollute as little as possible.

Because that little tyke's position was more intelligent, more conducive to progress, and more morally correct than was the paid for position of the tool. Give the little guy a few more years and he wins the argument easily since science triumphs money. Maybe when the little guy grows up he will demand/force justice and accountability over oil actors (a carbon wealth tax, lobbying investigations that go back decades...)?

The Mound of Sound said...

There's no question, Dan, that intensity-based targets, absent caps, can be meaningless. I put a lot of reliance on Pembina. Their calculation that the Tar Sands could treble their total GHG emissions under the Baird plan is more than just disappointing.

Thanks for the info, Phil. I'm not entirely surprised the Big Oil lobby would take to debating a grade 4 kid. Sort of levels the playing field, I guess.