Global TV's Keith Baldry: NDP sells environmental soul

Thu, 2009-04-16 09:21Kevin Grandia
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Global TV's Keith Baldry: NDP sells environmental soul

Global Television’s Chief political correspondent Keith Baldry has published an opinion piece today on the BC NDP’s stance on the carbon tax and climate change.

Baldry writes:

“The NDP’s opposition to the carbon tax – a position that is the starting point for its entire platform – appears to be based on two reasons: it was unpopular when it was introduced last summer because the price of gasoline was so high at the time, and it was a B.C. Liberal creation, so therefore it must be bad.”

Here’s the entire column: NDP sells environmental soul


Comments

It reminds me of “votefortheliberals” I mean environment scam. Anyway, nice to see that you continue use “shell” organizations/blogs to pretend that you are non-partisan. So when was it that you worked the liberals again?

I’ve been pushing for strong climate policy all over the world and definitely been pushing hard in Canada and the United States. 

Always been straight up on my past political affiliations.

First, the headline on the story, run in a CanWest paper which supports the BC Liberals, does not reflect the content of the story. Nowhere does Baldry state that the NDP ‘sells it’s environmental soul’. That’s pure political posturing by a biased publication.

Second, Baldry should really get his facts straight. He refused to identify Mark Jaccard as Gordon Campbell’s current, paid advisor on climate change policy. When interviewed about the ‘study’ by a reporter, Jaccard admitted that his figures were “rough”. As it turns out, the figures were mostly cobbled together from news reports and random sources. His report has no professoinal merit whatsoever.

Jaccard is also a research fellow at the CD Howe Institute (the federal version of the Fraser Institute), so he looks increasingly like a ‘prof for hire’ on these issues. He has no credibility whatsoever.

But of course, Baldrey won’t question his credentials, or even put them forward for people to decide for themselves, because he’d get into trouble with his bosses.

While we’re talking about headlines, here’s two from the Tyee today:

  • Premier pumps oil patch; fields questions on landowner concerns
    Here’s a quick quote: “We’re not just going to build a great new northern energy corridor, we’re going to build a great opportunity with the Asia-Pacific; we’re going to open new opportunities for British Columbians,” said Campbell.

    You mean, like off-shore oil drilling and coal-bed methane, Gordon?
  • BC Liberal climate plan falls short: Pembina, Suzuki
    Do you think these organizations are hearing from outraged NDP‘ers who are pulling their PACs because of their extremely partisan position? I wonder…

Your slagging notwithstanding,  SFU Prof. Mark Jaccard is a world-renowned authority in energy economics. He has definitely been a ‘prof for hire’ to political parties of all stripes, including the NDP, which made him chair of the BC Utilities Commission in the 1990s.

His report is “rough” because the NDP refuses to give him the data on which they (say) they are basing their assumptions.

Your assetion that “his report has no professional merit whatsoever,” is an egregious libel and if you intend to continue dropping comments like that on the DeSmogBlog, I suggest you attach your name, phone number and the name and address of your lawyer.

I wonder, in the meantime, if you would like to share your own professional qualifications to make such a finding about the quality of Jaccard’s work.

OK Richard, as I said, let’s talk ‘bona fides’…; Instead of quoting secondary sources, let’s quote the dear doctor himself, Dr. Mark Jaccard. I am including direct quotes from Mark Jaccard’s April 10, 2009 ‘report’ on the NDP position on the carbon tax:
http://www.sfu.ca/pamr/files/spring2009/BC_NDP_Climate_Policy_Apr_10-2009.pdf

  1. P.6: “These estimates are preliminary, based on information on the NDP website that provides a general description of the NDP climate policy proposals.

    Note: Jaccard didn’t even bother to wait until the full NDP program was released, with detailed costing, before writing his report. What credibility does this give to his conclusions?

  2. P.9: “Cap-and-trade system: I assumed the cap-and-trade system applies only to industrial emitters (“significant polluters”) and that permits are auctioned without any revenue returning to industry.

    Note: A huge assumption for a serious academic - especially considering that his entire report is based on “a general description of the NDP climate policy proposals.”

  3. P.9: “Other regulatory policies. I assumed the NDP keep all other regulatory policies that the government is currently pursuing…

    Note: Really?! You call him a serious academic, when he bases his entire report on unknowable assumptions that he can’t confirm before publishing unequivocal statements that the policies will cost “60,00 direct and indirect jobs”?! That’s REAL professional.


  4. P.11: “ Conclusion: The simulation is crude because it lacks fine details of the NDP’s proposed policies. If the NDP makes these available, the simulation exercise can be updated.”

So Richard… do you see any of these ‘facts’ from Jaccard’s report in the news media, or on your web site, which purports to present your readers with the unvarnished facts on climate change? Or in the press statements of the so-called environmental groups that pilloried the NDP? Would you dare to call this ‘study’ an academically sound document in public now?

Noone who reads this study, be they in possession of a PhD in energy policy, or a siimple citizen with a yen for the truth, could find any academic credibility in this poor excuse for professional analysis. Your entire argument is based on philisophical hole-cloth.

Krispy,

You have picked an excellent selection of quotes that demonstrate Mark Jaccard’s forthrightness and professinalism in describing the weaknesses in his own report. For this, he deserves to be commended, not condemned.

Your selection also illustrates that the NDP has passed off a pig in a poke, throwing out an economic policy that is impossible for any professional economist to test or assess with perfect accuracy.

Per the quote you have chosen, “If the NDP makes these [details] available, the simulation exercise can be updated.”

If, on the other hand, the Party continues to say that it has a wonderpolicy, without offering any of the supporting information, Jaccard has every right to remain skeptical. Certainly I am.

 

Really? Your defence of Jaccard’s smear document is that he “deserves to be commended” for his “forthrightness and professionalism in describing the weaknesses of his report”?

Wow. Then maybe you can tell your readers why Jaccard made this unequivocal statement, that all the news outlets are using, to describe job loss under the NDP plan:

“This outcome - loss of an estimated 60,000 direct and indirect jobs - results from the extremely high GHG prices that would be faced by BC’s industrial emitters under the NDP policies.”

Jaccard admits that his conclusions are suspect, but then goes on to make a statement of fact, with no qualifiers. Absolutely unprofessional.

Admit it, your whole campaign is a house of cards.

Other than hurling invective - snarling about someone being “unprofessional” without ever gracing us with your qualifications to make such a judgment - I notice that you have yet to lay a glove on Jaccard.

His report - and I will provide the link one more time - is admirably balanced and goes out of its way to give the NDP policy the benefit of the doubt in all areas where the party has refused to provide independent analysts with sufficient data.

As to your outrage that news organizations have chosen to quote an “unequivocal statement” - really, what else were you expecting? 

One more time, Richard, in case you didn’t read the entire post, or haven’t actually read Jaccard’s report:

This outcome - loss of an estimated 60,000 direct and indirect jobs…”  Is that unequivocal enough of a statement? He is making a direct prediction, without qualifiers.

Once again, from Jaccard’s report: ““These estimates are preliminary, based on information on the NDP website that provides a general description of the NDP climate policy proposals.

 By Jaccard’s own admission, he fed “preliminary” data into his computer model, based on a “general description,” and reached his conclusions, before the final, costed version of the NDP’s platform was published.

This means that his ‘conclusions’ cannot be relied on as accurate in the slightest. That may be good enough for DeSmog, but it certainly isn’t good enough for me. No reputable scientist would make these kind of outrageous conclusions, with such sparse data. I doubt that anyone but a partisan would even undertake such a ‘study’.

As to what I was expecting? It is exactly as I was expecting… 90% of the province’s news media is owned by two companies - both of which are deeply conservative organizations that have made significant financial contributions to the BC Liberal party. I mean, Fazhil Milhar, the Vancouver sun’s editorial page editor, is a former Fraser Institute staffer. What does that tell you?

And now, it is becoming much clearer as facts surface, that corporate supporters of the BC Liberal party are infiltrating the largest environmental organizations in this province – using their insatiable need for funding to pay their burgeoning professional staff – as an opportunity to leverage influence in these organizations. (Your boss being the biggest example, as a prominent BC Liberal supoprter who also acts as chair of the Suzuki Foundation board. Oh, and whose company has received over $350,000 in government communications contracts.)

I’ve been a big fan of the desmogblog from the day this blog started. I’ve even donated money a few times. However,I’m really dissapointed in the constant one-sided attacks on the NDP. I think it’s important to keep all the political parties honest, esepcially in regards to the environment. How about some coverage of the Green and Liberal policies? If this site turns into an NDP attack site, I don’t think I’ll ever come back.

Hello NDP sockpuppet “canadian veggie” - when I clicked on your login name you’ve been a member of DeSmogBlog for all of 5 hours! Wow, you’ve REALLY been a long time reader!

Just because I didn’t have an account, doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading this blog. It’s been on my blogrole for over 3 years. I have a receipt from May 2007 when I donated money to help expand their operation. If I would have known that the site would have taken on such a partisan slant, I would have reconsidered.

CV, our site has been viciously hitting the Republican Party in the US for years. The irony is that the NDP’s “axe the tax” campaign is very similar to the issues we’re dealing with around the Republican Party attack on the Markey-Waxman bill that is currently being considered by Congress.

For example:Rep. John Boehner and Sen. Mitch McConnell’s Big Green Lie

Here’s another example from a piece I did for the Huffington Post.

We also ran very strong opposition to Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party in the Canadian election when they unjustly smeared Dion’s green shift: Harper’s Climate Carbon Tax Snowjob

Again the irony is not lost.

This is about the issue of climate change and the NDP is playing politics with the only carbon monetization policy that has been established in North America. And just like we research and report on the antics of the Republicans and the Conservative Party (and we would stop if they got serious about the issue of climate change), we are not going to sit around on our laurels and watch the BC carbon tax be unjustly attacked for partisan purposes.

It seems like desmogblog is playing politics just as much as the NDP. Sarah Palin gets skewered on here for suggesting drilling in Alaska. Gordon Campbell wants to open up the BC coast for offshore oil drilling and doesn’t oppose gas flaring - and yet no mention on this blog.

A weak carbon tax does not excuse the Liberals for the rest of their environmental sins.

Here’s why you will never see Liberal criticism here on DaSmog Blog (this has been posted elsewhere but it is important because it exposes DaSmog Blog for the Liberal Shill that it is so I’ll post it again):

 

1. Kevin Grandia is the New Media Director for Hoggan and Associates

2. Hoggan is James Hoggan who has donated $8943 to the Libs. Hoggan is also a board member of the David Suzuki Foundation and was involved in the creation of DaSmog Blog.

3. In turn Hoggan and Associates was paid $353 855 from the Government for contracts ranging from the Sea to Sky Highway and the Canada Line.

4. Why bite the hand that feeds you?

All the information that you are “exposing” here is available in our  DeSmogBlog biographies or on the Hoggan website client list. Good sleuthing.

Now, how about solving a real mystery: Why would the NDP pick such an anti-environmental policy (by opposing the carbon tax) and why are you guys trying so hard not to talk about it?

 

 

The fact is although certain information is posted in your biographies nowhere does it state that Hoggan donated to the Liberals, Grandia works for Hoggan, and that Hoggan and Assoc. has received substantial money from the Liberals. This is important because I think it answers the question why you guys won’t criticize the Liberals. Because you don’t want to bite the hand that feeds you.

 

Carbon taxes don’t work to reduce emissons. Opposing them is not anti environment. Why do you guys have such a love on for a tax that won’t work? They haven’t brought emissions down in Scandanavian countries that have Carbon taxes so why would they here? Norway has even seen a 43% increase in emissions with a carbon tax. A carbon tax is a simple way to portray that you are actually doing something for the environment.

 

Besides, having a carbon tax is pointless when we have Gateway, a project that actaully encourages auto use which will do nothing more than increase emissions.

1) The link to your client list on the About Us page is broken - 404.

2) The NDP position on the carbon tax is wrong, in my opinion. Worse though, is there tacit support of Gateway. For that reason, I’ll be voting Green.

3) You still haven’t explained why you refuse to critisize the Liberal government. Does the desmogblog support Gateway, auto-dependent sprawl, offshore oil drilling, the slow dismantling of the ALR?

I personally think the Fraser crossing is a crying shame, and if the carbon tax was NOT (in my view) the most important issue of the election, I would be arguing full-time against the Liberals on that count alone - never mind the pipeline proposal.

I don’t remember, anywhere, saying that the Liberals are the cat’s pyjamas. Personally, I said the carbon tax is the most progressive climate change policy thus far implemented in any North American jurisdiction, and that fighting it (as the NDP is doing) is unconscionable.

By the bye, I also think your decision to vote Green makes perfect sense in the circumstances.

ps

the client link worked for me.

You haven’t said anything of value about the Liberals - therein lies the problem. How about writing a post about how horrible Gateway will be for the region?

All the links on your about us page are broken. The client list link goes to http://www.hoggan.com/our_clients

If you honestly think this is a one election issue then you need to get our more. Liberal Corruption regarding BC Rail, closed schools, lost jobs, full scale homelessness crisis, privatization of public resources, Olympic budget overruns, Gateway, fish farm expansion, 600 Rivers up for grabs to IPP’s, many of whom have former Liberals working for them; now these are issues that should be front and center in the election. But no, keep focusing on the carbon tax. I’m sure your Liberal friends love you for this.

Richard, you don’t have to say that the Liberals are the cat’s pyjamas. Your ad nauseum attacks on the NDP, on one issue no less, say it all.

Do some research, carbon taxes have not worked to reduce emissions anywhere they have been implemented. If you cared so deeply about the environment then post up articles condemning Gateway rather than posting a one liner that the it’s a “crying shame.” Oh yeah, and what about flaring taxes. Shouldn’t the Liberals, if they cared so much about the environment be taxing oil companies for flaring? What’s your stance on that? Why are the Liberals so gung ho to keep developing BC’s oil patch? It’s a bit hypocritcal don’t you think?

Punish the consumers who have no choice but to drive their cars yet all the while encourage more car use by barreling full steam ahead in the oil patch and building more freeways rather than common sense transit. Yup, makes full sense doesn’t it.

It’s my vote. It’s my voice. If I want to make this a one-issue election, it’s my right.

And as I said, if you want to vote Green, I think that’s a very reasonable position given what’s happening out there.

The carbon tax, however, remains a clincher for me.

(And by the way, have you any actual examples of carbon taxes not working? Sweden implemented a carbon tax - at a respectable $120 a tonne - and Swedish emissions dropped to eight per cent below 1990 while their economy grew by 44 per cent. Norway’s experience has been less impressive, but they - like us - have been developing and selling oil into a rising market. But it’s pretty clear that their emissions are still much below what they would have been WITHOUT the carbon tax.)

Finally, and I plan to write more about this: I also think the election is about character. The Liberals, running against the grain and standing by at the risk of significant political damage, implemented a good policy and kept it in place when the expedient thing would have been to climb down. (With oil at $150 a barrel, who would have blamed them?) The NDP, on the other hand, saw a political opportunity and reversed a longstanding position IN FAVOUR of carbon taxes.

(“I think a revenue-neutral carbon tax that really looks at supporting low- and middle-income families, that actually is phased in so people can manage, that provides them with options to make change, then I think it’s worth looking at.” - Carole James, February 14, 2008, Voice of BC.)

Do I hope the Liberals find a conscience on some other environmental issues? Absolutely. Am I going to continue encouraging them for doing the right thing on this issue - which I personally think is the most important of the campaign? You betcha.

Do I expect the NDP to continue to try to make this into some kind of suspicious partisan plot? Whatever. They sure seem eager to avoid the issue at hand.

Actually Richard, according to US Energy Information Adminstration carbon emissions in Sweden have gone up by six millions tonnes since 1991. Any positives from Sweden would be based upon the fact their industrial base has seen growth in non energy intensive sectors. Whereas Campbell and Stelmach are still pushing for developmement of oil based projects. Like you said, Norway which saw massive increases in emission has been developing and selling oil just like Canada. How can we expect to cut emissions then?

So, the Liberals cannot be pushing energy development in N.E. BC if they expect to have any impact in emissions. Further, they cannot be building projects such as Gateway if they expec to cut emissions. Especially given that for the same price 150km of light rail track could be built which would service all of the South of Fraser.

Where else have carbon taxes not worked?

Netherlands - 19% increase in carbon emissions between 1990-2005

Denmark has seen a significant decline, however it can be attributed to the reduction of industrial use of coal. Declines cannot be measured by the carbon tax alone.

Finland saw declines of 5% between 1990-2005. Like Sweden they are not developing massive energy projects as we are.

You are right that you can make this a one issue election but I think that is a completely misguided position to be taking. As much as we need to save our environment we also need to make sure everyone has a roof over their head. We need to make sure our schools are not being closed and classrooms are being jammed beyond capacity. We need to make sure post secondary education is being funded to encourage a highly educated population. We need to make sure our health care system is functioning properly so people get timely care when and where they need it. We need to make sure labour is getting a fair deal and that young people are earning a fair wage. We need to make sure Government isn’t handing out contracts to insiders and friends.

Is Campbell doing any of the above? Hardly. So for you there may not be a bigger issue than the carbon tax. For me though I would gladly accept an abolishment of the carbon tax if it meant getting rid of Campbell. And that’s my bottom line.You speak of character yet the Liberals have shown their true character. Did the promise never to sell BC Rail? Yes. Did they keep that promise? No. Did they rip up legal HEU contracts and throw thousands of people out of their jobs? Yes. Did the Liberals give themselves a nice fat raise, all the while telling those at the bottom that we just can’t affor to do the same for you? Yes. Charcter? Yes, the Liberals are characters alright. But not in a good sense.

Now, when will we be seeing an anti Gateway article?

A recent Canadian Geographic article refutes your take on the carbon tax with respect to how it transformed Norway’s economy:

http://www.canadiangeographic.ca/magazine/oct08/feature_norway_carbon_tax.asp

Please give it a read before parrotting the arguments made in the Conservative “What will they tax next” smear campaign against the recently abandoned Green Shift.

Hmmm. are you referring to this excerpt from the article you noted?

Overall, greenhouse-gas emissions from the oil and gas sector in Norway have actually increased by 72 percent since 1990, while the industry itself has grown by 87 percent. The government-run Norwegian Petroleum Directorate estimates that emissions from fossil-fuel extraction will continue to rise until 2013, after which they’ll begin to decline in tandem with the shelf ‘s total fossil-fuel output.”

This pretty much supports KWL’s assertions. The rest of this article, as I can see, is for the most part anecdotal.

Is that what one could characterize as a ‘non-denial denial’?

Come on, Richard, your company received hundreds of thousands of dollars in communications contracts from the Campbell Liberals. do you really expect anyone to believe that you would be arguing “full time against the Liberals” if you were still on their payroll?

Fact is that you, Hoggan, Grandia and the other DeSmog functionaries are doing exactly as you have been instructed to do. I look forward to making an FOI after the election, to see whether your organization, or Hoggan and Associates, received contracts from either the Campbell government, or the BC Liberals, to carry out this campaign. (Is if fully costed, and are you registered as a ‘3rd party advertiser’?

One note for canadianveggie - the BC NDP has not endorsed the Gateway project. And of course Richard wants people to vote Green. So does Campbell. That way, if enough voters do that, they’ll be elected to another term in government.

Richard, three of us on here have asked when will we see criticism of the Liberal Environmental record. Why won’t you post anything negative about the Liberals? This is a simple question to answer. Grandia justifies it above by saying you guys have gone after the Republicans and Conservatives. This is not criticism of the Liberal environmental record.

I was drawn to this site by an article in the Tyee but I quicly drew the same conclusions as Krispy that DeSmog Blog is nothing more than a Liberal front organization. I have to give you credit though, I’m sure you’ve fooled a few people into believing that this is an environmental website.

By the way, Krispy is right, that Canadian Geographic article is purely anecdotal. Some truly stunning conclusions in the article. For example one being: people in Norway in certain cities are driving fancy cars. Therefore a carbon tax surely must be the way go.

KWL, maybe I haven’t made myself clear: our issue in this election is the carbon tax.

Let’s try that again: our issue in this election is the carbon tax.

Or maybe I can put it another way: the carbon tax is our issue in this election.

David Suzuki put it this way:

“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.”

I have said many times in the last week that I recognize there are other issues in the election. I further recognize that OTHER people might grab on to one of those other issues - or a whole host of issues - and make their personal choice accordingly. I have even said, clearly, that I think the Liberal environmental record over all leaves much to be desired. I have said specifically that IF NOT FOR THE CARBON TAX, I would be inclined to campaign against the Liberals purely on the basis of the 10-lane Fraser River crossing, which I think will inflict a terrible injury on the Lower Mainland. (Of course, that would be an easier position to pursue if the NDP had been clearer in their own opposition to that bridge. They seem to be criticizing it without opposing it.)

But, let’s review, as Jim Hoggan explained in his post Standing on Principle: Explaining the DeSmogBlog’s Position on the BC Election: OUR ISSUE IN THIS ELECTION IS THE CARBON TAX. The Liberals implemented it and deserve credit for having done so. The NDP opposed it in a gesture that we read as unforgivably cynical and, in many instances, specifically dishonest.

If the Liberals win, there will be lots of occasions in the future to criticize them for inadequate environmental policy. To begin, the carbon tax isn’t big enough. (Have I mentioned that our issue in this election is the carbon tax?)

But, as Suzuki noted, if the Liberals lose the election, politicians across the continent may interpret it as a repudiation of the tax and they will run from this, the single climate change policy that can be implemented easily, instantly, at almost no cost and with complete transparency. That, I believe, is the greater risk.

Clear enough? 

See, it doesn’t make sense to make an election about one issue, an issue that has been proven to not work. Given that we are a high energy output country like Norway a carbon tax will not work to reduce emissions.

How do you suppose that emissions will be reduced by BC’s carbon tax given that we are only a small portion, population wise, of the country when the rest of Canada has no such tax in place? Further, how do you suppose emissions will be reduced when the Campbell Government is encouraging emissions by developing Gateway and NE BC’s energy sector? Can you explain that to me? If you can then maybe you will convince me that a carbon tax is the way to go. I suspect though you can’t.

Rather, to repeat myself and what others have said this blog is highly suspect in its non partisanship. DeSmog blog is coming across as a third party campaigner for Campbell by trying to divide the left based on one issue alone. Especially given that for the last five days you have done nothing but post negative divisive posts about the NDP.

I found the exchange between these commenters very interesting. I suggest that you repost these comments as the content of a new post. And I commend all of the comments and the responses. These are vexing issues and I understand the strong feelings expressed.