Standing on Principle: Explaining the DeSmogBlog's Position on the BC Election

An election campaign is unfolding in the Canadian province of British Columbia over the next month, the outcome of which could have important implications all over North America and, ultimately, around the world.

A central issue in this provincial political squabble is a carbon tax - according to most analysts, the least-expensive, most effective and most transparent of climate change solutions (check this report, for example from the U.S. Congressional Budget Office [PDF]).

But if carbon taxes are popular among economists, they are widely regarded as toxic among voters - as any new tax is likely to be. That’s why the B.C. election is so important. For people outside this jurisdiction, it is being seen not so much as a minor election in a distant place, but as a referendum on carbon taxes. The assumption here is that if the tax fails here, it won’t be worth trying anywhere in North America.

Leading Canadian climate scientist calls BC NDP policies "regressive and counter-productive"

One of Canada’s top climate scientists - a Nobel-winning lead author on each of the last three reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - has written an opinion piece in the Victoria Times Colonist, denouncing the BC New Democratic Party for its opposition to the BC carbon tax.

Accusing the NDP of making “demonstrably false assertions” in its attack on the carbon tax, University of Victoria Professor Andrew Weaver says:

“The NDP’s so-called environmental platform is regressive and counter-productive. I hope our message to the world from the election is that political opportunism, gimmickry and short-sightedness doesn’t work with B.C. voters; British Columbians truly care about the environment and intergenerational equity.”

Weaver is also the author of the excellent book, Keeping our Cool: Canada in a Warming World.

Steven Milloy: The Climate Teabagger

Taking a page from the rabid teabagging right, Steven Milloy launched into an angry tirade during a speech he gave on Monday to promote his book, Green Hell: How Environmentalists Plan to Ruin Your Life and What You Can Do to Stop Them, at the Heritage Foundation.

Calling environmentalists doom-mongering “communists” intent on scaring the public into accepting full-throated government control, Milloy warned his audience that the “greens” are “burning with an impatient zeal to begin dictating by force of law your mobility, diet, home energy usage, the size of your house, how far you can travel and even how many children you can have.”

Toronto Star Backs BC Carbon Tax

In an editorial under the headline: “Carbon tax battle may not be over,” the Toronto Star has taken note of the issue that is currently dominating the BC election conversation.

The Star concludes:

“…American commentators, ranging from New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman to right-wing economist Arthur Laffer, are calling for a carbon tax as an alternative to cap-and-trade. ‘Since the opponents of cap-and-trade are going to pillory it as a tax anyway, why not go for the real thing – a simple, transparent, economy-wide carbon tax?’ asked Friedman in his column last weekend.

“Why not, indeed.”

New study finds emissions cuts can still tame most serious of global warming effects

A new report released by National Center for Atmospheric Research today reports that the worst effect of global warming could still be reversed if aggressive measures are implemented quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Candace Lombardi at Greentech reports that:

“The computer simulation showed that if greenhouse gas emissions can be held at 450ppm–the target labeled as reasonably achievable by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, if the world reduces emissions by 70 percent–the global temperature would rise by about .6 degrees Celsius (about 1 degree Fahrenheit) by the year 2100. If human-made emissions are left unchecked, the model predicted that greenhouse gas levels would rise to 750ppm by 2100, causing a global temperature increase of 2.2 Celsius (about 4 degrees Fahrenheit).” (my emphasis)

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