Top environmental groups denounce BC's New Democratic Party

On the eve of an election campaign in British Columbia, three of Canada’s leading enviromental organizations held a press conference on Tuesday condemning a New Democratic Party promise to let B.C. polluters off the hook, despite the damage that might do to the environment or the economy.

The David Suzuki Foundation, the Pembina Institute and Forest Ethics jointly stated that “thousands of jobs in the green economy will be lost, and the province will lose its position as an environmental leader if the (first North American carbon) tax is dropped.”

“The NDP has chosen what they think will be a publicly acceptable but climate-irresponsible approach. And that is, they want to step backward the pricing of carbon and backwards on the policies that are in place in the hopes that that may get them elected,” Merran Smith, a climate director with ForestEthics, said Monday.

The carbon tax, passed by the reigning Liberal government last spring and implemented (awkwardly) just as oil prices peaked last July, has been hailed in environmental and economics circles as the fairest, most comprehensive and most transparent tax on fossil fuel pollution. The NDP alternative, on the other hand, was roundly criticized, most recently by the renowned BC economist, Dr. Marc Jaccard, who estimated that the NDP’s own plan for climate change could cost the province as many as 60,000 jobs by 2020.

NDP Environment Critic brushes off former NDP Government Advisor

shane-simpson-bc-ndp

In reaction to a scathing economic analysis of the BC NDP climate change plan, the party’s environment critic, Shane Simpson, is making the ridiculous claim that the author is somehow misguided in his findings.

Released on Friday, the economic analysis by renowned Simon Fraser University economist Dr. Marc Jaccard finds that the NDP’s climate plan could lead to 60,000 direct and indirect job losses by 2020.

According to a Province news article this weekend, NDP environment critic Shane Simpson claimed that:

He [Jaccard] has been a critic of ours (the NDP) and I don’t believe Mr. Jaccard has an independent view on this.”

It’s insulting to an academic like Jacaard to be accused of dishonesty and being in collusion with government. What makes it even worse is that Simpson fails to mention that Jaccard has also been an advisor to previous NDP government’s - so much for his conspiracy theory.

On the very first page of Jaccard’s analysis it states:

“Professor at Simon Fraser University specializing in sustainable energy modeling and policy, Dr. Jaccard has been appointed by NDP, Conservative and Liberal governments to energy-environment policy advisory and decision making positions over the past two decades. The BC NDP government of the 1990s appointed him to chair the BC Utilities Commission (1992-1997), the Electricity Market Review (1995), the Public Inquiry into Gasoline Pricing (1996), and the Task Force on Electricity Market Reform (1997).” (my emphasis)

The election campaign here in BC hasn’t even begun and the NDP are already spinning hard to put lipstick on their “axe the tax” pig. Check back on DeSmogBlog for our analysis and coverage of the 2009 BC Election.

Congress and Renewables, Going Whichever Way the Wind Blows

A recent Forbes’ article on Vestas Wind’s CEO, Ditlev Engel, and his determination to make wind energy succeed in America, brings to mind the real problem behind renewable energy in the U.S; Congress tends to swing whichever way the wind blows (pun intended).

Vestas came to the U.S. in the wake of the OPEC oil crisis/embargo in 1973. Then, when oil prices dropped in the 1980s, Vestas – like many other renewable energy startups – went bust because the government let renewable energy tax incentives lapse for lack of interest. This effectively dried up venture capital.

BC NDP's Cap and Trade Proposal Nothing New

BC NDP leader Carole James defended her party’s proposal to scrap the BC Carbon Tax by promising to “implement a cap-and-trade system to put a price on carbon.”

This of course is nothing new in that British Columbia is already a partner in the Western Climate Initiative (WCI.)

Under the WCI framework member States and Provinces are well underway in identifying, evaluating, and implementing “collective and cooperative ways to reduce greenhouse gases in the region, focusing on a market-based cap-and-trade system.”

Top Environmental Group Lambastes BC NDP Climate Change Platform

The Pembina Institute calls the BC NDP’s election platform a “step backwards for climate change.”

Matt Horne, BC Energy Solutions Director for the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the BC NDP’s release of its election platform:

“The NDP plans to cancel British Columbia’s carbon tax, but offers limited detail on how the party otherwise plans to meet British Columbia’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.

“The NDP’s platform puts climate change on the shelf to be addressed in the future, rather than building on steps already taken.
The carbon tax is already showing results. It is important for British Columbia to keep moving forward on climate change rather than starting over again. [my emphasis]

“The carbon tax covers more than 75 per cent of British Columbia’s greenhouse gas pollution, including industry, while the core of the NDP plan would address only 30 per cent at best. British Columbia’s climate plan needs to be strengthened, but the NDP’s proposal takes us in the opposite direction.

“The NDP fails to acknowledge that British Columbia’s carbon tax applies to all fossil fuels burned in the province, regardless of who consumes them. This is an important fact for British Columbians to understand.”

The NDP platform includes a number of other commitments related to climate and energy, and the Pembina Institute will release a more detailed review of these next week.

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