New Fraser Institute video both patronizing and wrong

In an embarrassing - and failed - effort to speak the hip language of youth, the Fraser Institute has launched a YouTube video dismissing climate change as a matter of natural variability, saying:

“The climate changes naturally; always has; always will.”

Obviously aimed at high school students (sample voiceover: “all because you ride the bus to school every day”), this seems to steal from the tobacco maker’s playbook for selling cigarettes to children.

Top five misconceptions about B.C.’s carbon tax

Here’s a list of the top 5 misconceptions about the BC carbon tax  prepared last year by a consortium of environmental groups that includes the Suzuki Foundation, Sierra Club of Canada, Pembina Institute,the BC Sustainable Energy Association and the Western Canada Wilderness Committee:

Myth 1: The B.C. carbon tax won’t reduce emissions.

Economic modelling conducted by M.K. Jaccard and Associates concluded that the B.C. carbon tax will reduce B.C.’s emissions by three million tonnes annually by 2020. That represents just over eight per cent of the effort required to reach B.C.’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions 33 per cent below 2007 levels by 2020 (about a 36-milliontonne annual reduction).

This projection actually underestimates the potential of the B.C. carbon tax because it assumes the B.C. carbon tax would not increase past its 2012 rate of $30 per tonne of carbon pollution. A carbon tax is a powerful economic tool that can reduce much more of B.C.’s harmful emissions if it continues to increase over time beyond 2012, and if it is coupled with other strong measures (for example, tough regulations for the energy efficiency of vehicles and homes, as well as a major scale-up of transit investments).

Under the existing legislation, increases in the carbon tax would be accompanied by decreases in personal and some business income taxes, as well as tax credits for low income earners.

Environment think tank hits back on NDP's National Roundtable claim

The Pembina Institute, a top Canadian environmental think tank, released a statement late last week in reaction to the BC NDP’s claim that a recent report released by National Roundtable on Environment and Economy supports their intention to scrap the BC carbon tax.

Matt Horne, Director of BC Energy Solutions for the Pembina Institute said: 

“The National Round Table report says that Canada needs an economy-wide price on carbon as soon as possible. Experts agree that this could be accomplished through either a carbon tax or a cap and trade system. The Round Table is opting for cap and trade only to align with federal government policy.

The B.C. NDP’s proposal for a limited cap on industrial emitters would only cover up to 32 per cent of B.C.’s pollution, whereas B.C.’s carbon tax covers 76 per cent. So rather than being consistent with the Round Table’s call for an economy-wide price, the NDP’s proposal would take B.C. in the opposite direction.”

The NDP’s assertion that a carbon tax would cost more than a cap and trade system is simply wrong, and is not supported by the Round Table report.” (my emphasis)

Yale Economist William Nordhaus on Carbon Tax

Given the debate over BC’s carbon tax, we thought we would search about for some expert opinion on carbon emission policy. Few leading thinkers present the issue as an either/or carbon-taxes-or-cap-and-trade option. Most policy analysts favour using both instruments.

An exception is Dr. William Norhaus, the renowned Professor of Economics at Yale University, who recently called for “an internationally harmonized system of carbon taxes.”

This, Nordhaus said, would be much more efficient than an international patchwork of emissions caps; small countries wouldn’t have to worry about achieving certain emissions levels and the system would be much less prone to corruption or cheating.

Most importantly, Nordhaus said, Taxes, “while hated,” are a long-standing and “proven” financial instrument.

David Suzuki speaks up personally for the carbon tax

“If [BC Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell] goes down because of axe the tax, the repercussions are the carbon tax will be toxic for future politicians. No politician will raise it. That’s why environmentalists are so upset.”

David Suzuki

With that quote in the Globe and Mail today, David Suzuki explained why enviromental groups (and the DeSmogBlog) are criticizing the BC New Democratic Party, which is continuing to campaign against the tax.

Suzuki also said:

“If environmental voters decide they can’t stomach voting for the NDP or the Liberals, they have got the Greens. If you vote for the Greens, you are making a statement about the carbon tax and the other things you don’t like about the Liberals and the NDP.”

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