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Out of touch on the environment file (but being forced to deal with it).

If you’re Stephen Harper and the Conservatives, you should be able to figure out you’re starting to become rather isolated in the world on the climate change issue when Obama is about to bring in a hard target cap-and trade system, and when even certain Republicans are calling for controls on GHG emissions, and horror of horrors, they’re advocating doing it in a way that sounds like its almost an exact carbon copy (no pun intended) of Stephane Dion’s proposed Green Shift:

Obama has also said that he intends to implement a cap-and-trade system that would include hard caps and aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent from 1990 levels by 2050. The Harper plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions has no such hard caps, and neither does the Alberta plan. To harmonize with the U.S. means we would have to substantially rejig our climate change policies. Needless to say, the petroleum industry is not thrilled with this idea – it would eat into their profits. Neither is the Alberta government, which has long seen a cap-and-trade system as a carbon tax that drains money from Alberta.

But even U.S. Republicans are pushing for polluters to pay. Bob Inglis, a Republican representative from South Carolina, and Arthur Laffer, a former economic adviser to president Ronald Reagan, are promoting a system that would impose carbon taxes but reduce income and payroll taxes. “We need to impose a tax on the things we want less of (carbon dioxide) and reduce taxes on things we want more of (income and jobs),” they recently wrote in The New York Times.

Sounds just like Stéphane Dion’s Green Shift, the same Green Shift that the Harper Conservatives attacked as just another Liberal plan to siphon money out of Alberta and spread it around the rest of Canada.

Indeed. You know it’s bad when your ideological allies in the US – certain ones anyhow – are proposing measures that are probably as tough or tougher then what Obama is advocating.

Our Environment Minister, Jim Prentice, is supposed to be going down there to meet with the new Obama Administration and key Congressional Democrats to try and harmonize climate change fighting plans with them. Here’s hoping that if Prentice and Harper are still hoping to have a deal that excludes the Tarsands, Obama and the Congress will tell him “No deal”. There’s no point in signing a climate change deal when the largest emitter of Greenhouse Gases is not part of the equation – it makes any agreement essentially toothless and irrelevant.

I don’t expect the Harperites to flip flop on a carbon tax, but Obama may be able to force them into doing a hard cap plan within a cap and trade system- their antagonism Harper and his Big Oil supporters have toward the environment notwithstanding. Hopefully however, a more progressive government will soon take Harper’s place, and install a plan that fights climate change aggressively and because it knows its necessary, not because it has been forced to and who doesn’t really believe in “so-called Greenhouse Gases”.


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