Jaccard: Voters being misled on BC climate policy

Wed, 2009-04-22 11:17Kevin Grandia
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Jaccard: Voters being misled on BC climate policy

“I know this sounds cynical. But politicians implementing a carbon tax face a great risk that unscrupulous political opponents will mislead the public by claiming we can reduce emissions without taxing gasoline, conveniently failing to mention that their cap-and-trade alternative should have the same upward effect on its price for the same emissions reductions.”

That quote is from an opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun today on BC climate policy and the current BC election, by Simon Fraser University economist Dr. Marc Jaccard.

Jaccard writes:

“A recent B.C. NDP press release states that Canada’s National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (on which I serve) “clearly supports” the NDP’s climate policy proposal to scrap the carbon tax and that I am Premier Gordon Campbell’s ‘top adviser’ on B.C.’s carbon tax. Neither of these statements is true.”

While the BC NDP will no doubt try and paint Jaccard, an internationally respected academic on climate policy, as some how in bed with the BC Liberal government, the reality is that Jaccard has worked to advise the BC government for many years, including previous NDP ones.

As Jaccard rightly point out:

“Of course, the NDP did not call me Campbell’s ‘top adviser’ from 2001 to 2006 when I repeatedly criticized his ineffective climate policies of that period. But now that I am applauding his recent climate policies and sharply criticizing the NDP’s alternatives, their strategy is to claim I am no longer independent.”

On the issue of the NDP’s National Rountable claim, Bob Page, the Chair of the National Roundtable had this to say in an interview on CKNW’s Bill Good show:

Bill Good: So what both [the carbon tax and cap and trade] attempt to do is put a price on the use of carbon?

Bob Page: That is correct and if people have to pay that price, they’ll try and avoid it by actually changing what they do.

Good: So is one better than the other?

Page: Well a carbon tax is more certain in terms of the dollar figure and a cap and trade is more certain in the volumes that you’re cutting. So some in industry like the idea of the [carbon] tax, many others in industry like the entrepreneurial aspects that are involved in a cap and trade system.

Good: There seems to be a feeling here in BC that the carbon tax hits the consumer and leaves industry off the hook and a cap-and-trade system is more inclined to capture the carbon waste of industry and not punish the consumer whereas the carbon tax hits us every time we fill up at the pump.

Page: Well I think that the plain truth here is that [the] key feature here is the price - and the price is going to be paid for by the consumer one way or another and I don’t see that as the major difference between the two systems. And whatever happens, carbon management is going to generate costs for the economy and the consumer.

You can read Dr. Jaccard’s entire column here: Voters being misled on climate policy

Comments

This is what I don’t get: If the BC carbon tax is revenue neutral, and comes back to us in tax cuts, what’s the point? What we pay for gas ends up back in our pockets, so we can spend it on stuff that generates more CO2. 

When Campbell brought it in, we all got a hundred bucks and an invitation to spend it on green stuff. I doubt many people did. So I’d appreciate an explanation of how this version of the carbon tax does anything useful.

What it does is moves taxes to things that pollute and away from things that don’t pollute. So instead of being taxed for income we make working, a tax is put on doing something that pollutes the environment.

So if you emit less carbon (i.e. driving less or buying products that don’t use as much oil in their production) you are rewarded in that you get the break in your income tax AND you pay less tax by consuming less carbon intesive products.

 

The fact is, that Campbell’s carbon tax does not accomplish these lofty goals. Fully 30% of emmissions are not covered by the BC Liberals’ carbon tax, as noted in a 2008 Tyee article:

Not covered are greenhouse gases from other sources. That includes gases that escape during coal mining and the production of oil and gas, as well as gases that are created during the production of things like cement and aluminum.”

“In 2005, the last year for which statistics are available, “fugitive” emissions from the coal, oil and gas industries amounted to 9 per cent of B.C.’s total greenhouse gases.

“Industrial processes,” including cement and aluminum, made up five per cent of the total.

“Non-fuel emissions from agriculture are also exempt. That’s about 4 per cent per cent of total B.C. emissions.

“Also exempt from the carbon tax: landfills, where ordinary British Columbians send their garbage (seven per cent of total emissions).

“Passenger cars and trucks – which are subject to the carbon tax – make up about 14 per cent of total emissions.”

There are holes in Campbell’s carbon tax large enough to fly a 747 through.

The Liberals’ carbon tax only covers 70 per cent of emissions, leaving 30 per cent yet to be regulated.

Contrast that to with the NDP’s proposal, which covers just over 30 per cent of emissions, leaving almost 70 per cent neglected entirely.

So the Liberals have hit 70 per cent of emissions and promise to do more (adding cap and trade as soon as it can be negotiated through the Western Climate Initiative). And the NDP promise to undo what the Liberals done - and then do less.

If it weren’t clear enough why we have been critical of the NDP position, I think that gets pretty effectively to the point.

I actually took my carbon tax rebate and put it towards my car insurance. So it’s a bit of a farce to say it encourages green spending.

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”
Albert Einstein (attributed)
1879-1955)

Your readers may be interested in a few quotes by the so-called objective academic expert Marc Jaccard on the NDP carbon tax position, long before he prepared his academic ‘study’ of the NDP platform (the results of which he admits are “crude” and based on a “general description” from the NDP web site, before the fully costed platform was released:

  • BC Government website: (Sept. 18, 2008) 
    Right now in British Columbia you’ve got an amazingly honest government. Gordon Campbell cannot have been doing this because he wanted to be popular. He did it because he must have listened to people like me who said if you care about the economy and you care about the climate, this is the best policy.”
  • Vancouver Sun op-ed - (July 3, 2008)
    “…one wonders if the NDP should change its motto from “axe the tax” to “tax to the max.
  • “Vancouver Province letter - (July 3, 2008)
    “Like many citizens, I am deeply troubled by the NDP’s cynical effort to make political gains by pretending they can reduce greenhouse gases without increasing taxes and charges on gasoline and other consumer fuels.”
  • Vancouver Province article - (June 28, 2008)
    Simon Fraser University economist Mark Jaccard, an architect of B.C.’s current climate policy…”

    “By contrast, he said he was “appalled at how much misinformatoin is being spread around” by political opponents of the B.C. Liberal government…”

On another favourite BC Liberal policy, run-of-river independent power projects, Jaccard went even further to defend his Liberal friends, by pillorying his own SFU colleague John Calvert, who published a book that criticized the BC Liberal approach to privatizing BC’s river systems:

  • Cariboo Press - (October 15, 2008)
    “A slightly more polite slagging match over private power broke out on the Simon Fraser University campus where professor Mark Jaccard took on his colleagues John Calvert and Marvin Shaffer. Jaccard, the premier’s special advisor on climate change, dismisses Calvert’s ‘Liquid Gold: Energy Privatization in British columbia’ as “best read as a political propaganda tract…”

So, while Jaccard is busy downplaying his role in developing and promoting the BC Liberals’ climate change policy, he is referred to in CanWest newspapers just last year as “an architect of B.C.’s current climate policy,” and as “the premier’s special advisor on climate change.” He is also quoted several times in the press, often in op-ed pieces, making sharply partisan statements against the BC NDP – almost a year before the party released its election platform on climate change.

Face it folks, Jaccard is little more than a ‘hired gun’ whose job is to discredit the NDP’s environmental policy. If the Campbell government is elected, I would lay money that he is given a cushy patronage job with government. This man has no credibility left as an academic ‘expert’. he crossed the line to ideological activism a long time ago.

Why do the NDP think that they can get away with saying that growth was better under them?
It just blows my mind every time I hear Bill Tieleman or The Tyee explain that the NDP were actually great economic managers.

great,

himalayan goji

Dr. Mark Jaccard (born c. 1950s) is a professor of environmental economics in the School of Resource and Environmental Management (REM) at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. He is an internationally respected authority on climate change.

thanks,

locking mailboxes

Voters being misled on climate policy My only recent advisory role in B.C. was for the climate action team, Mark Jaccard is a professor at the school of resource and environmental management at Simon Fraser University.

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Mark Jaccard’s one-man crusade to hook Canada up to a monster new global warming policy nightmare popped up again last week.

This time he emerged in Ottawa with David Suzuki at a news conference that offered Canadians an economic miracle: Big new carbon taxes, lower income taxes, reduced carbon emissions, more government revenue and a growing economy.

regards,

knowledge base

 
So, Jaccard concludes, that in order for the BC NDP’s climate policy to …. “If environmental voters decide they can’t stomach voting for the NDP or the … a great risk that unscrupulous political opponents will mislead the public by …. Aside from the carbon tax, battle is also being waged over the issue of … Electric Train Sets
The climate policy research program Clipore, supported by the Mistra foundation, focuses on future international policies in the area of climate change. … link building services

The public is being misinformed on climate science by federal Liberals’ lack of greater progress on climate policy? Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. North American public has been grossly misled by our news media.

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We now need to make sure it’s fair and that it’s effective.” In announcing her new shadow cabinet, James also appointed the bright, likable and decidedly green Victoria-Hillside Member of the Legislative Assembly, Rob Fleming, as Environment Critic, a further signal that she is committed to reasserting the NDP’s environmental reputation.

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Climate Policy presents the highest quality refereed research and analysis on the policy issues raised by climate change, and provides a forum for commentary and debate. It addresses both the mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change, within and between the different regions of the world. hottubs

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