99

Stephen Harper, a University of Calgary alumnus, did not sign


 

Two hundred and thirty economists write an open letter about economics and climate change. Two key paragraphs out of many:

  • Regulation is the most expensive way to meet a given climate change goal.
  • A carbon tax has the advantage of providing certainty in the price of carbon.

 

Stephen Harper, a University of Calgary alumnus, did not sign

  1. Paul, presumably all of those 230 economists are Liberals, Liberal donors, Liberal sympathizers, related to Liberals, Liberal Elites, Librarians, Libertarians, Liberators or Democrats.

    So I don’t think they are credible.

  2. Scott B, that’s an excellent point. You know, I’ve come to the conclusion that Stephane Dion is not a leader and he’s not worth the risk. Also: Permanent tax on EVERYTHING.

  3. Guys.. stop it. If you keep posting the “conservative” talking points before kody and bob ward arrive, they might not have anything to pos.. oh..

    ..never mind. As you were.

  4. .. and now that those attention-hogging drama queen economists have gotten that out of their system, a few scientists would like a word with the electorate.

  5. Oh come on. Everyone knows the whole profession is notoriously liberal. Like criminologists, actors and journalists. And pretty much everybody else.

    Except police officers and duck hunters. Why haven’t we heard more from police officers and duck hunters in this election? Damned liberal media.

  6. The signatures are in alphabetical order. This was organized!

  7. I’m trying to remember… Is a degree in Economics considered a Liberal Arts degree?

  8. Personally, I like bob ward. He’s a good comic relief, especially when he gets Paul going…

  9. “I’m trying to remember… Is a degree in Economics considered a Liberal Arts degree?”

    LOL!!

  10. China’s emmission passed the US’s as the largest single source of GHG’s. Cina will increase it’s emmissions over the next twelve months by more than the total Canadian emmissions. Taxing or regulating CO2 is an act of symbolic self-flagellation with exactly zero benefit to the environment and disasterous consequences to Canada’s economy. Most Canadians know this, few journalists do, as journalism school is a place where people who can’t cope with matematics go.

    If a political party had the stones to point out this obvious disconnect from reality, they would win a landslide, sadly none do. PW, what you say about a carbon tax vs regulation may be true, but I am sure it wasn’t analyzed as part of a plan where you rebate the tax money to people so they can………..pay the higher costs of energy created by………the carbon tax. Reduction of CO2? Negligible.

  11. Game, set and match. Good luck with your…er…reporting.

  12. I’m just kicking myself for not responding in time.

    Also, I’m waiting for the first person to come in and call David Laidler a communist for signing.

  13. Oops. Peter, my last comment wasn’t directed to you. I was merely invoking the gods of bobward. To your point: I’m always a bit bemused by this Canada-ain’t-much argument. Canada could not have provided even 2 per cent of the soldiers in Iraq, yet in 2003, some people thought we should show leadership on that file anyway. I know that’s a tendentious analogy, but it’s the best I can manage with only two years of university math and science. Which is two years more than I spent studying journalism.

  14. I don’t disagree with the economists two points you highlight, Paul, but their letter is certainly questionable.

    I think Mr Finnie’s “economists disagree on many things” is a stupid thing to include when you trying to claim knowledge on a certain topic.

    And their points 1 and 7 kinda contradict themselves. Global warming has to be stopped now but don’t implement cap and trade because it’s too expensive though we would be able to actually to control carbon emissions that way.

  15. Economics is one of the Social Sciences. Next!

  16. Peter: Reduction of CO2, negligible from Canada, I’ll agree. However, the policies and technology we develop to deal with higher energy prices here can hopefully be exported to China and India where their application will cause significant changes.. and at worst, will make us better prepared to deal with the increasing price of energy as China and India’s population places increasing demands on it.

  17. “And their points 1 and 7 kinda contradict themselves. Global warming has to be stopped now but don’t implement cap and trade because it’s”

    not the most cost effective solution.

    I don’t see what’s so contradictory about it… it’s just saying a) we believe in this goal and b) this is the best way to accomplish that goal.

  18. Peter,

    You almost got it right except you didn;t…

    You would be correct if the subsidy was tied directly to the purchase of the carbon producing product…. (e.g., the subsidy was relative to the amount of says oil purchased)….

    But, and this is kinda a big one, it isn’t…. the money goes in your pocket and you decide whether to keep buying the more expensive C02 emitting product or you choose to forgo the good/service or find an alternate source that produces less C02 and is likely less expensive.

  19. Mintz didn’t sign the letter, but the Head of his dept did. Jaccard signed.

  20. Gawd, I hate economists and their obsessions with the price mechanism. The problem with taxing carbon as opposed to regulating the reduction of emissions is that under a tax, you have no guarantee the tax result in a reduction of emissions. Economic theory says that as individuals are rational actors, they will shy away from paying the higher price. But economic theory is just that: theory. It ignores, for example the entire social infrasturcture built up around the car. What may happen instead is people simply choose to pay the higher price, shifting household expenditures, keeping emissions at a high level. A carbon tax probably will have to be part of the overall solution, but to set a carbon tax up against a legislated reduction in emissions is useless and a classic mistake made by the discipline of economics.

  21. “Peter: Reduction of CO2, negligible from Canada, I’ll agree. ”

    Yep, but if Canada agrees to some form of carbon regulation, then we can sign a Free Trade Agreement with the EU.

    Then, we can be the bridge between the EU and the USA, who under Obama will also move towards carbon pricing in one way or another.

    Canada’s move towards carbon regulation, could just maybe lead to a US-CANADA-EU free-trade-agreement block, which would be closed off to outsiders with tariffs. China will have no choice but to comply with carbon reductions of their own, in order to be able to sell into the developed nation common market.

    Which is why, probably, China is not making life difficult for Stephen Harper right now, despite the minor thorn in their side he’s been.

  22. Note: Pete does not equal Peter, for the purpose of these boards. They are two separate entities.

  23. Mike M

    If you think the planet is in peril, which I don’t, wouldn’t “certainty on the quantity of carbon emitted” be more important than how much it costs?

    It’s why I think this global warming hysteria is all a scam because very few people actually want to take measures that will really improve air quality and/or reduce carbon emissions.

  24. The great thing about economists is their total failure to predict anything ever. I am prepared to listen to many people on this subject but not economists. And, yes, that is one of the reasons it is a social science rather than anything else.

  25. To add to Simon’s point: didn’t the economists’ general antipathy towards all things ‘regulation’ lead to a certain ECONOMIC CRISIS THE WHOLE WORLD IS CURRENTLY ENDURING?!?!?

    You can regulate and target reductions directly, or just tax stuff. Finding taxes attractive because they push and pull the questionable levers of market incentives is bunk, and will disproportionately impact the lower and middle class. Wonder why those white-collar economists like the idea so much? hmmm.

  26. Maybe I’ve read too many Fraser Institute articles but I thought there already WAS a permanent tax on everything.

  27. In the end it just depends on how big a crisis you think the climate change situation is. I don’t think it’s the imminent disaster some people claim, so I don’t want to see drastic policy changes to address it, but I could handle incremental movement in that direction.

    However, I do prefer a straight forward carbon tax (minus all the loopholes in Dion’s plan) to a cap-and-trade system. So if I had to choose between the two plans, I’d prefer Dion’s, but while I believe Dion is committed to the carbon tax, I don’t think Harper’s really committed to his plan, so I’m not as worried about the impact.

  28. “If you think the planet is in peril, which I don’t, wouldn’t “certainty on the quantity of carbon emitted” be more important than how much it costs?”

    No – for three reasons:

    a) Certainty is a myth even with cap-and-trade, because you never get complete compliance and you never know how much compliance you have. You can get certainty in a blackboard model, but never in the real world.

    b) We aren’t certain exactly, to the third decimal point, how much reduction we need plus it’s not the case if we have 699Mt of emissions we’re fine and if we have 700Mt we all die. It doesn’t work like that. Again, you might be pin point an exact number in a blackboard model, but not in the real world.

    c) You get more bang for your buck with a carbon tax. Milton Friedman gave a good explanation why in “Free to Choose”. I honestly can’t figure out why Conservatives are running away faster from Friedman’s ideas faster than Naomi Klein. I can only assume it’s because of the word ‘tax’.

  29. Paul,
    I don’t understand your point about the “Canada-ain’t-much” argument. The point seems straightforward enough: if we increase the cost of goods with the carbon tax when others do not, then we have just priced ourselves out of a living.

    The moral high ground may be satisfying to some but it will be cold place for the rest of us.

  30. Bill: The economics of a carbon tax, especially at the level the Liberals are proposing, are negligible at the market level. In fact, the study commissioned by the government estimates that the first year of carbon tax will actually increase our GDP due to it providing incentives for industries to move to energy saving techniques earlier than they normally would.

  31. Well, it’s about time the Canadian economists spoke up. So far, I’ve had to take my information from the US Congressional Budget Office, which, by the way, conclusively argues that a carbon tax is the least expensive option for reducing emissions. Although CBO does tactfully say that if the public/politicians are too dense to acknowledge this, they do have some suggestions for making cap and trade as much like a carbon tax as possible, but it is still a whole lot more complicated.

    I see 120 or so scientists also came out with their own letter slamming the Conservatives.

  32. “presumably all of those 230 economists are Liberals, Liberal donors, Liberal sympathizers, related to Liberals, Liberal Elites, Librarians, Libertarians, Liberators or Democrats.” – should have been a reference to Ignatieff by name to make that list truly complete.

  33. T.Thwim,
    The carbon tax will have to be protected by tariffs or other protectionist measures if it is not to be undercut by foreign imports. We will have to pay for this one way or another. That is the whole purpose of the tax – to make us pay for carbon usage. If we can choose to purchase goods that do not have a carbon tax, then what is the point?

  34. In an unrelated announcement today, Stephen Harper pledged to cut any funding relating to economics outside Alberta.

    “I think ordinary Canadians, you know, don’t want to come home and see on TV a bunch of over-paid economists organizing, you know, to get more money from the government at some fancy conference all dressed up in their suites”

    Did you know that some of these economists have been to Cuba? Just think about it.

    FEAR THEM!

  35. Interesting developments with the cap and trade system in the USA as well, where it looks like Congress is going to create a large pile money from auctioning the emission allowances and then have a lot of fun dishing it out.

  36. Bill,

    No one would argue that a carbon tax (or I hope no one would), in-and-of-itself would not lead to decreased economic activity and lower GDP. But part of that tax revenue is used to offset lower taxes. So you can get either no net effect or even a positive impact to the economy, so long as the taxes you remove are more destructive/distortionary than the added carbon tax (and remember, carbon taxes have existed in Canada since the 1920s). I’m not suggesting that a particular party’s tax-swap plan (Liberal, Greens or others) is economically neutral or beneficial, but economically beneficial carbon tax plans can certainly be created.

    Secondly, you have to remember that ALL the parties (except maybe the Libertarians) have a plan to tackle GHG emissions. A cap-and-trade system also has a cost increase as well; in fact more of one per tonne reduced because cap-and-trade systems are less efficient and assuming the permits aren’t auctioned off, they don’t bring in revenue that can be used to reduce job killing taxes such as corporate income taxes.

  37. Amazing – Sweden and Denmark (sorry Jack) – socialist countries are using carbon tax and reducing corporate taxes successfully. Oh, and Jack, Gary Doer has low corporate taxes. But, hey Jack, what’s a little misinformation now and then.

    Hmmm….wonder. Harper’s an economist – did he realize Dion’s plan was good and decided to attack it viciously months ago to do a little brainwashing? Hmm…..

  38. I actually believe that Harper has not bought into climate change and GHG emissions and is simply playing for time in the hope that it will prove to be unfounded. It explains his confused stance on this issue much better than anything else I have heard.

  39. “The carbon tax will have to be protected by tariffs or other protectionist measures if it is not to be undercut by foreign imports.”

    So will cap and trade levies. Pondering precisely what Harper isn’t serious about when he offers that criticism is somewhat unsettling.

  40. This letter (yes, I signed it) should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the Liberals. To a first-order approximation, cap-and-trade and carbon taxes are equivalent ways of dealing with the greenhouse gas emissions.

    There are some differences when it comes to implementation and how we want to deal with uncertainty, and the best choice is still an open question.

    The point is that the debate should take into account the basic points outlined in the letter.

  41. This letter (yes, I signed it) should not be interpreted as an endorsement of the Liberals. To a first-order approximation, cap-and-trade and carbon taxes are equivalent ways of dealing with the greenhouse gas emissions.

    There are some differences when it comes to implementation and how we want to deal with uncertainty, and the best choice is still an open question.

    The point is that the debate should take into account the basic points outlined in the letter.

  42. Mike,
    If you look at US cap and trade system, you can see that there is a provision to help certain companies get over the adjustment, and this is what is generating so much intense lobbying in the States right now. Congress will dish out emission allowances based on its judgment on the pain and suffering of the company in question (e.g. a coal based power generator). That this is an open invitation to corruption and bribery is not lost on industry, who have been queuing up to get at this booty.

    This is another unintended consequence of the carbon tax scheme: who gets tax relief? Dion has already singled out a few areas and there will be more.

    I don’t question the motives of Dion and his pals, but it is willful blindness not to see the downside of this.

  43. “If you look at US cap and trade system, you can see that there is a provision to help certain companies get over the adjustment… this is an open invitation to corruption and bribery is not lost on industry, who have been queuing up to get at this booty.”

    Wait.. so cap-and-trade is open to corruption, so we *shouldn’t* have a carbon tax, which is the alternative to a cap-and-trade system? Huh?

  44. “I actually believe that Harper has not bought into climate change and GHG emissions and is simply playing for time in the hope that it will prove to be unfounded.”

    Fair enough. I’m a bit of a tree-hugger, but I’d have a lot more respect for Harper if he’d actually come out and say that he’d do nothing, rather than all this hidden agenda (we say one thing, but we plan to do something else) nonsense.

  45. Economists previously signed off on the GST cut too. But that didn’t change the fact that it was a political winner, regardless of their opinion of it. Same goes for the carbon tax.

  46. Mike,
    The point I made is that any system that depends on selective allowances or tax rebates in order to work lays itself open to corruption and political distortions. Both cap and trade and carbon taxes require us to cede considerable economic control to the government; based on experience, I expect this to be corrupt shambles.

  47. Okay. I checked through the list and noticed it lacks the validation of the usual impartial, disinterested bank economists. That can’t be right.
    Academics. What do they know? I don’t see them on television.

  48. “The point I made is that any system that depends on selective allowances or tax rebates in order to work lays itself open to corruption and political distortions.”

    What selective allowances or tax rebates exist now with our current carbon tax regime?

    Well, I guess there is all the subsidies to the tar sands. So I guess you do have a point…

  49. Economists previously signed off on the GST cut too.

    Um, no, we didn’t. I think you’ll find that if you asked the people on that list what they thought about cutting the GST, the almost-unanimous response would be ‘dumb’.

  50. Stephen: I think matt wrote “signed off” when he meant “wrote off”

  51. Stephen Gordon: You beat me to it, but I think your response probably carries more weight.

  52. Mike,
    You have it one! And now they will give tax rebates to all sorts of businesses… here is a snippet from a news item on the subject:

    “Dion said the carbon tax proposal plan, called the Green Shift, will provide $900-million in rebates and incentives to help the agriculture, forestry, trucking and fishing industries invest in clean technology and reduce carbon emissions.”

    K’ching!

  53. “You have it one! And now they will give tax rebates to all sorts of businesses… ”

    And like most economists, I tend to be against that sort of thing.

    From a partisan perspective, every party seems to be in a race to see who can hand out the most cash the fastest to special interests, I don’t see anyone coming out of this smelling good.

  54. THIS JUST IN:
    Another open letter, this time with those other scientists:
    http://site.climateletter.org/

    I just knew this week would be exciting!

  55. Of course, everything the 230 or so economists write is based on the assumption that we should do something about climate change. In fact, it’s based on the assumption that we CAN do something about climate change. Even Kyoto, fully implemented, could only delay the onset of climate change. So, do the economists take their calculations right out to the limit and tell us what the result of their “best plan” will be assuming it will work and we can stop climate change, and we actually do enough to accomplish that?

    In point 2 they say “Any substantive action will involve economic costs”, but they don’t elaborate on what those costs could be. They just say pricing carbon is the best way to do it. It sounds kinda like Dr. Kevorkian explaining to us us the best way to commit suicide.

  56. In point 2 they say “Any substantive action will involve economic costs”, but they don’t elaborate on what those costs could be.

    Some people – perhaps everyone – will see a reduction in their standard of living.

  57. seaandthe mountains: “You would be correct if the subsidy was tied directly to the purchase of the carbon producing product…. (e.g., the subsidy was relative to the amount of says oil purchased)….

    But, and this is kinda a big one, it isn’t…. the money goes in your pocket and you decide whether to keep buying the more expensive C02 emitting product or you choose to forgo the good/service or find an alternate source that produces less C02 and is likely less expensive.”

    Uh, sea etc. It isn’t about products, it is about energy. The reason we use carbon based fuels is that they are the cheapest. Even at $100/barrel and $50/tonne for coal. Alternatives cost more/ and are insufficient to meet demand (solar/wind/tidal/nutso) or take 20 years to bring online (nuclear). Defacto, carbon emmission reductions will be marginal and based upon energy efficiency only. Call that 10%, it is less but I have allowed enough margin to make the counter argument ludicrous for the purpose of time. We will continue to use carbon based fuels because the alternative does not exist, nor will it soon, so the tax reductions will simply be recycled into paying more for energy, CO2 does not go down. Forget mentioning things like migration and economic growth, which put steady state growth at 3-4%.

  58. PW, I have four years of university math. Apology accepted.

  59. “Some people – perhaps everyone – will see a reduction in their standard of living.”

    But what if at the end of twelve years the cost is absorbed in energy savings?

  60. Mike Moffat,

    I think I saw you earlier state that you were a supporter of the Green Party, and that you believed it to be a fiscally conservative party (I’ll differ with you on that last point).

    But, a serious question. One presumes that you are familiar with the GPC’s policies wrt the Alberta tar (oil)sands.

    Elizabeth May has claimed that the CPC’s policy of intensity targets for oil sands producers is a “fraud” because it allows total GHG emissions to grow, assuming the production increases at a faster rate than the intensity targets decline.

    So, with their policy of a $50/tonne carbon tax, how precisely will that limit the growth of oil sands emissions? Seems to me, if they can afford to pay the tax, they’ll keep on producing.

    Alternatively, assuming they also propose a moratorium on oil sands development, how will that be accomplished, recognizing that this is provincial jurisdiction (issuing of development permits), short of causing a constitutional crisis?

    I look forward to your green economist view.

  61. “Elizabeth May has claimed that the CPC’s policy of intensity targets for oil sands producers is a “fraud” because it allows total GHG emissions to grow, assuming the production increases at a faster rate than the intensity targets decline.”

    What does that have to do with your questions?

  62. “I think I saw you earlier state that you were a supporter of the Green Party, and that you believed it to be a fiscally conservative party (I’ll differ with you on that last point).”

    I don’t know if I’d go that far, but the Greens are at the point where they’ve got a big enough tent to include a diversity of viewpoints. I wouldn’t consider their platform particularly fiscally conservative, but since fiscal conservatism is all but dead in Canada, they really don’t see a whole lot worse on that front than anyone else.

    “So, with their policy of a $50/tonne carbon tax, how precisely will that limit the growth of oil sands emissions? Seems to me, if they can afford to pay the tax, they’ll keep on producing.”

    Or they might develop technologies such that it is cheaper to capture-and-store the CO2 rather than emit it. At the margins, though, some projects will likely be reduced because simply the profit margins aren’t high enough to justify paying the tax.

    “Alternatively, assuming they also propose a moratorium on oil sands development, how will that be accomplished, recognizing that this is provincial jurisdiction (issuing of development permits), short of causing a constitutional crisis?”

    That’s a really good question. I honestly don’t know the answer.

  63. What does that have to do with your questions?

    Well, if their solution (Greens) is simply implementing a carbon tax (as opposed to cap and trade) then the production and hence the total GHG emissions can also grow, not unlike the CPC plan.

    And if you can’t impose a moratorium on oil sands production because you don’t have jurisdiction without provincial co-operation, isn’t that also a “fraud”?

  64. I wouldn’t consider their platform particularly fiscally conservative, but since fiscal conservatism is all but dead in Canada, they really don’t see a whole lot worse on that front than anyone else.

    Well, it seems to me that I heard them state that their proposed $50/tonne carbon tax is forecast to generate roughly $35 billion/yr – which they then plan to redistribute /spend in a whole bunch of social programs, along with tax reductions (not unlike the Lib plan, just more intense in many regards). I haven’t read the details, however. Thought maybe you had.

    Thanx

  65. How can people continue to operate in a fantasy world? There is no viable alternative to carbon based energy available in Canada, eithr now or in the next 10-20 years. This is a fact. It is not in dispute by anyone with smidgen of knowledge. Canada is a cold, vast country, the majority of our energy usage, even in the medium term is inelastic. It is used to keep us fed and warm, hardly discretionary. The only optional uses are industrial, like pulp and paper, petroleum refining, mining and smelting, sawmills, auto production, etc. If we get out of those businesses, GHG’s will definitely be reduced.

    Stephen Gordon, is this the sort of thing you were referring to?

  66. “Well, if their solution (Greens) is simply implementing a carbon tax (as opposed to cap and trade) then the production and hence the total GHG emissions can also grow, not unlike the CPC plan.”

    With a Carbon tax it cannot grow without the producer paying a premium which would be a risk in a competitive market so in that aspect its not like the CPC plan at all.

  67. Peter, you’re right. Plug-in hybrids, efficient home-building, heat pumps, wind power, etc. are all pie in the sky ideas that may or may not arrive in 20 years. You’re using the strawman of “If we reduce our fossil fuel use even a little, we can’t use any”.

    It’s about using it more efficiently.

  68. With a Carbon tax it cannot grow without the producer paying a premium which would be a risk in a competitive market so in that aspect its not like the CPC plan at all.

    Actually, if it is simply a carbon tax, I think it is not much different than the CPC policy, as far as I know both of them.

    The CPC plan sets intensity targets (say reduce GHG emissions by 10% per unit volume) and if you can’t meet the targets, you pay a fine, or pay into a fund, equivalent to a carbon tax, no?

  69. Has anyone read the October, 2008 issue of the Canadian Geographic? “How a Carbon Tax transformed Norway” and “For the past 16 years Norway has been creating an economy less dependant on oil. What prompted all the forward thinking? A carbon tax.” Based on this article it looks like Dion’s proposal has a lot of potential and is realistic.

  70. “The CPC plan sets intensity targets (say reduce GHG emissions by 10% per unit volume) and if you can’t meet the targets, you pay a fine, or pay into a fund, equivalent to a carbon tax, no?”

    Not if you produce 10% more units emitting the same amount of GHG.

  71. “Based on this article it looks like Dion’s proposal has a lot of potential and is realistic.”

    What’s needed is a good handle on price elasticity.

  72. both plans, btw, afford plenty of room for investment. the one without the moving target is a hell of a lot easier to calibrate.

  73. What’s needed is a good handle on price elasticity

    Indeed. We’re pretty sure it’s not zero, but it’s still pretty small. Estimates around 0.1 are fairly typical, so a 10% increase in price generates a 1% decrease in demand.

    Of course, that if you want a 10% decrease in demand, you need to increase prices by 100%.

    And it really doesn’t matter if that reduction in emissions is generated by a carbon tax or by an emissions cap. The effect on the consumer will be the same.

  74. John C. Smith: “Has anyone read the October, 2008 issue of the Canadian Geographic? “How a Carbon Tax transformed Norway” and “For the past 16 years Norway has been creating an economy less dependant on oil. What prompted all the forward thinking? A carbon tax.” Based on this article it looks like Dion’s proposal has a lot of potential and is realistic.”

    Uh, JCS, Norway’s GHG emissions have increased by 11% over the last decade, and they are in vioaltion of their Kyoto committments by 17%. Gotta love that carbon tax. Citizens poorer, government richer, and somehow this is good. Good if you are the government I guess, private citizen, not so much.

    Check the studies on why. Main reason, Norway is a cold country, and it turns out energy demand is quite inelastic. I’m certain I have seen a similar argument somewhere.

  75. Andrew: “Peter, you’re right. Plug-in hybrids, efficient home-building, heat pumps, wind power, etc. are all pie in the sky ideas that may or may not arrive in 20 years. You’re using the strawman of “If we reduce our fossil fuel use even a little, we can’t use any”.

    Andrew, do you have any critical faculties? All those things exist. What I did was allow them a 10% effect on energy use, which is at least double their pie in the sky, rose coloured glasses, best case scenario efficacy, to point out the absurdity of the argument. Do all of that, and it doesn’t matter………..do you get that now?

  76. Not if you produce 10% more units emitting the same amount of GHG.

    Geiseric, are you mixing up two issues? I don’t follow. Can you elaborate?

  77. Citizens poorer, Peter?
    The facts disagree. GDP growth stronger than inflation over the past several years with a stable population and balance of trade positive and growing with growth in both imports and exports. This implies citizens are not only richer and buying more, but producing more as well.

  78. Indeed. We’re pretty sure it’s not zero, but it’s still pretty small.

    So either way, really, if its about the market the selling point has got to be on the cost savings side of the equation. That about right?

    Its tough to get a dollar value on that but it’s definitely not small potatoes, particularly when scoping it in terms of 12 years of fuel costs.

    $70B a year in domestic fuel costs sound around right, maybe?

  79. not to put you on the nut. just hoping you might have it handy somewhere. Statscan doesn’t break it down that way that I can find.

  80. T. Thwim,

    I am saying that is the result if a carbon tax actually succeeded in reducing emissions. Since in Norway’s case it didn’t, and emissions increased substantially, I take your point, which was what again?

    As far as Norway’s balance of trade, yes there are more exports, but of one thing: OIL. Yes, that nasty fossil fuel, crude oil. Norway is one of the world’s largest producers and exporters, and without it an economic basket case.

    Stay in your mother’s basement T. Thwim, it is safer.

  81. Did they stop to think about the actual effects of a plan like the Green Shift: I have calculated using the elasticities of price and income that it will actually increase CO2 emissions due to the income effect. Click here.

    While I do agree with a shift from income to consumption taxes, and that they are likely to lower the distortionary effect of income taxes, I am not sure if they will result in a CO2 reduction (providing that is even necessary).

    So linking the price increase to CO2 reduction is foolish, especially when they are intending to lead to public to thinking it could result in GHG emissions when there is little evidence to show it does. Ironically many European businesses have managed to weasel their way out of paying the carbon taxes.

    Those 220 economists do not have to run the country. The view from outside the park is always fairer.

  82. Hear hear, langmann, no more economists running the economy, no more scientists barking about science, no more generals going on and on about military strategy, no more “experts” and their “expertise.” If you can guarantee that, I’ll happily vote Tory.

  83. Jack,

    I think there should be some sort of prize for erecting four strawmen in one sentence. We could call it the “I lack the knowledge and ability to refute what you say but never learned to shut my piehole” award. Congrats!

  84. Ah, Peter, gentle as ever.

  85. But, kudos to me for erecting the first ever non-specific straw men! Me and Peter’s logic, we’re a hell of a team.

  86. If that’s what you were saying, Peter, you should actually.. you know.. say it.

    Because from the paragraph I read, it looked like you were saying the carbon taxation they had has made the citizens poorer, and the government richer.

    However, it’s nice to see that you can acknowledge that even with a carbon tax, it doesn’t necessarily hamper their economy even though they primarily produce oil.

    For a country that is more diverse, then, like Canada, we should see even greater benefits.

    But hey, you feel free to go ad hominem all you like. Although I should warn you, poor Kody finds it offensive.

  87. T. Thwim,

    Norway produces and sells conventional crude from under the sea, much like cutting down trees and exporting the logs as opposed to milling them and making value added products such as plywood etc. etc. with all the high paid manufacturing jobs that go with them.. Their oil industry produces GHG’s but not that many. Think of Canada. Think of that massive resource and wealth generator, the western oil sands in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Mining them produce some GHG’s but not that many. Processing (think manufacturing, it isn’t just autos, you know) produces massive investment in plant, equipment, infrastructure, thousands of highly paid jobs with the resultant spin-offs and tonnes of revenue to governments of all levels. Under a carbon tax regime, the best (most profitable) way to operate would be to get the raw material on a train out of the country and do all that nasty manufacturing south of the border. The processing will still get done, no less GHG’s produced, but we’ll all get poorer. The US is going to price carbon? Great, I say you first. Mexico won’t by the way.

    As an aside, I always get a kick out of central Canadians whining about helping the manufacturing sector, when what they mean is the auto industry. Pulp and paper, smelting, petroleum refining, value added forestry etc. are also manufacturing industries in which as a result of our natural resources we have a huge competitive advantage. Under a carbon tax regime, not so much. Try increasing the price of electricity by 50% and see what happens to dozens of papermills virtually overnight. Thousands of our very best paying jobs shipped to Brazil. (Income tax cuts to suddenly structurally non-profitable industries are worthless by the way.)

  88. “Geiseric, are you mixing up two issues? I don’t follow. Can you elaborate?”

    That’s how intensity targets work. The absolute value on emissions moves up with production levels. Its entirely possible for emissions to increase over the twelve years of the plan. In fact if you check the relative values of emissions to GDP for years 1993 to 2005 you’ll find that’s exactly what happened.

    I’ve, more or less, posted this before…

    (1993 emissions/1993 GDP)/(2005 emissions/2005 GDP) = (608Mt/727,184M)/(747Mt/1,371,425) = 0.67

    1 – .67 = .33 = 33%

    right on target.

  89. @ Jack,

    Either you cannot read, sir, or you are an idiot. Read what I wrote again. AS an economist I support increasing consumption taxes in favor of lowering income taxes.

    HOWEVER, there is no good evidence that a tax plan like the Green Shift will reduce CO2 emissions, in fact it may increase emissions due to the income effect of the shift!

    Also be clear, consumption taxes hurt the poor more than the rich, as they are recessive taxes.

  90. That’s how intensity targets work. The absolute value on emissions moves up with production levels. Its entirely possible for emissions to increase over the twelve years of the plan. In fact if you check the relative values of emissions to GDP for years 1993 to 2005 you’ll find that’s exactly what happened.

    Geiseric, the US administration uses the GHG emissions/GDP intensity targets. The Gov’ts in Alberta and Feds use GHG emissions/unit of production (ie barrel of oil). There is a big difference.

    Nonetheless, you are missing my point. A carbon tax, like emissions targets WILL ALSO allow unfettered growth in production. The only constraint is economic (supply/demand).

  91. “Feds use GHG emissions/unit of production (ie barrel of oil).”

    1) what page is that on?
    2) la meme chose

    but with the carbon tax there’s no ducking the premium.

  92. 1) what page is that on?

    I’m not going to dig up the studies – but Baird has been saying it for quite some time. Here’s a recent G&M summary of the Cons position.

    The Conservatives:

    TARGETS: The Conservative plan promises to regulate heavy industry so that companies begin to curb the growth in their emissions; by 2020, firms are to reduce them to 20 per cent below what they were in 2006, and to at least 60 per cent below 2006 by 2050. The plan has been criticized for using 2006 as the baseline rather than the United Nations standard of 1990, when Canada’s emissions were much lower. Using 1990 as a baseline, the Tory target works out to be 3 per cent below those levels by 2020.

    REGULATIONS: Although the Conservative government has released several papers outlining what regulations for heavy emitters would look like, it has yet to publish regulations in the Canada Gazette, which is the first step toward having them in place and ultimately enforced.

    THE PLAN: Called Turning the Corner, it would allow companies to meet targets by either slowing the growth of emissions or paying into a “technology fund” at a rate that would start in 2010 at $15 per tonne of carbon-dioxide emissions. Over five years, that price would rise and the option of paying into the fund would be phased out, forcing firms to make real reductions.

    THE COST: Environment Minister John Baird estimated in March that complying with the plan would cost $50 a tonne by 2016 and $65 by 2020.

    INCENTIVES: The Conservative government has supported a wide range of incentive programs aimed at encouraging greenhouse-gas reductions. They include rebates for retrofitting homes and a $1.5-billion trust for provincial projects that reduce greenhouse gases. A further $1.5-billion has been promised to support Canada’s biofuels industry, which produces ethanol gasoline from plant-based sources.

    THE CRITICISM: The Conservative plan urges companies to reduce the “intensity” of their emissions, such as emissions per barrel of oil produced. However, critics point out that if a company’s overall production were to rise, the plan would allow that firm’s emissions to go up as well.

    WHO BENEFITS: Consumers would not directly foot the bill for this plan, though industry would be likely to pass on added compliance costs to consumers.

    WHO PAYS: Other countries, particularly in Europe, looking to renew the Kyoto Protocol on global warming with more aggressive targets, have faced stiff resistance from Canada’s Conservative government.

    but with the carbon tax there’s no ducking the premium.

    True, but it still allows emissions to grow.

    That is why, if you call the Conservative plan “a fraud” because absolute emissions can still rise, then your plan (the GPC carbon tax) is also a fraud.

  93. That’s an awfully longwinded way of saying you don’t know what page its on either.

  94. If you’re keen on “proof”, try googling Turning the Corner – must be in there somewhere.

  95. you’d think

  96. fraud
    Noun
    1. deliberate deception or cheating intended to gain an advantage
    2. an act of such deception
    3. Informal a person who acts in a false or deceitful way [Latin fraus]

    hypocrisy
    Noun
    pl -sies
    1. the practice of claiming to have standards or beliefs that are contrary to one’s real character or actual behaviour
    2. an act or instance of this

  97. implausible

    a plan that divides by zero

  98. who cares where he went to school. harper is an ideologue, and he’s there because people don’t throw him out. just one signature representing millions of people who basically disagree with harper on everything related to nature.

Sign in to comment.