'This option is the most expensive' - Macleans.ca

‘This option is the most expensive’


A 2002 government report discouraged against the approach now favoured by the Conservative side.

The report compared a targeted approach — consisting of various tools, such as regulations, incentives and agreements — to a system that sets caps on industrial pollution and creates a market in which polluters would pay by buying credits from those that reduce emissions … The discussion paper suggested that the approach adopted by the Conservative party would be the worst possible solution for the economy and the environment.

“This approach requires many initiatives, likely by three different orders of government, with the associated administrative costs,” said the report. “And because it does not use market forces to find the lowest-cost emissions reduction opportunities, it is inevitably a higher-cost approach than those based on emissions trading. . . . This option likely also provides the least certainty for meeting a target.”


‘This option is the most expensive’

  1. Pretty much says it all eh?

    You'd think a Conservative government of all things would be all over a market based solution.

    Then again, they likely think there's nothing to solve and what better way to stall then to tie your policy to an administration you just know will be the last to change.


    • it's a stretch to call cap-and-trade, and the false scarcity it creates, a "market based solution".

      • No, that's precisely what it is. That it's attempting to measure and regulate a form of waste you don't recognize or consider waste is another thing entirely.

        You can call it "false scarcity" if you like, but if there is general agreement that CO2 is an important emission to reduce and by how much, then there's nothing false about. Unless, again, you don't believe that excess CO2 is waste.

        So I suppose what you really meant is that it is a market based solution to a non-problem eh?

        • I reject the use of the term 'market based solution' to describe cap and trade. strictly speaking, i suppose it is a market, but there should be some kind of asterix next to it, it's a BS market, much like there was a "market" for indulgences in the middle ages.

          and yeah, you're right, I also dont believe that CO2, which we breath out and which plants use to photosynthesize (thus making it the greenest gas on earth, without CO2, there would literally be no green on earth), to be a dangerous pollutant.

          • Then you're ignoring geological history and the scientific theories we have to model it. If we can't agree on the general facts, we can't really debate the appropriate actions can we?


          • Disputing the general facts? "Allow me to be clear…."

          • On a side note, surely you can understand the concept of balance right? You know, how some things in certain amounts are good, but if depleted or excessive can become dangerous or problematic?

            Since I can safely assume you DO understand such a basic concept, I then have to ask what the basis is for your belief that there is no preferred CO2 balance in terms of climate from the human perspective?

            I can easily show that the bulk of mainstream science considers CO2 to be a climate factor to varying degrees. The only real question being how much is too much, not whether there is such a cut off.

            There's only one climate model in terms of CO2 that I've ever seen, and I can't even find a conjectural alternative to argue with it. The data is overwhelmingly in favour of the rockweathering theory.

            So, other than simple anecdotal denial, do you have anything to offer that supports your position?

        • I wish all problems could be solved by renaming them!

        • Not exactly. There are many forms of regulation–usually called product standards–that incent the market to compete on price and through innovation to displace more polluting products with more efficient, less polluting ones. If you want to examine good examples, look at the regulations Canada implemented to phase lead out of gasoline and paint, reduce sulphur levels in diesel, phase PCBs out of electriciy supply systems, etc.

          Cap and trade is a quota regime. Government give or sells pollution quota to companies. As in all quota regimes, companies will ultimately corner and hoard quota suppliers for massive profit.

          The goods news is that it is very, very difficult for the feds to design a carbon quota regime that will be both constitutional and acceptable to all, let alone any two provinces. This risk is not that we will end up wil cap and trade, federally, It is that we will waste millions of taxpayers' dollars trying to make it work.

          Hopefully, we will move on to better policy solutions sooner rather than later.

    • It is not a market based solution, it is a market based fraud.

  2. You know what's even more expensive? Setting-up an emissions trading market which subsequently fails due to a lack of global cooperation. The European Union is having to learn this the hard way:

      • Regardless of one's position on AGW, it cannot be denied that almost all major emissions trading schemes in the Western world have been a failure. Multiple news sources have reported the difficulties the EU Emissions Trading Scheme has been having, and the closure of the Chicago Climate Exchange in the US has also been well-documented. This is entirely unsurprising. Why would huge corporations bother with emissions credits, when many of them can just move their operations to jurisdictions which don't require the purchase of said credits?

        I'm not particularly inclined to provide a myriad of links for you, as the above two examples can be found readily with a Google keyword search. Plus, I doubt anything I post would affect your position on this or any other issue anyway, given your record on these comment pages.

        • Carbon taxation makes more sense-agreed.

          Most business activities cannot practically be moved between jurisdictions. Ie, Electricity is used largely where produced.

          The exceptions are cement, steel and perhaps a few other petrochemical industries. Those can be addressed by levying tariffs in countries with carbon tax or cap-and-trade schemes.

          • You're forgetting manufacturing, which can and has been moved to cheaper jurisdictions in the past for numerous reasons: lower taxes, lower labour costs, etc. A cap-and-trade scheme is a similar impediment to business.

            But, as you seem to agree that cap-and-trade isn't worth it anyway, I won't delve into that much further. I will say however, that going the carbon tax-tariff route against countries like China and India could potentially damage our economy more than theirs (i.e. with retaliatory tariffs, currency manipulation, etc.) I'm not particularly keen on irritating the trading partners our nation desperately needs.

          • Carbon tariffs should be used sparingly, but they can be effective tools for preventing leakage in a few very large emitting sectors such as cement, steel and petrochemicals. China has shown some willingness to adopt carbon pricing anyway, so it might be moot. There will be some defectors from a coalition who are trying to solve this collective action problem, and the way to hold that coalition together is to punish defectors.

            China should be willing to adopt carbon pricing–if they retain the revenues then it allows them to reduce other forms of taxation. As long as there isn't a huge discrepancy in prices it ought not to cause a big problem with leakage.

  3. The CPC used the unelected senate to vote down bill C-311, which required the government to bring in regulations to meet the emissions reduction targets. These were emission targets that Canada had agreed to meet.

    Clearly, the Conservative approach is to ignore the problem and hope that this does not result in sanctions from the rest of the world and that the climate change in Canada does not become severe until after they are able to retire.

    • I'm a Canadian and I did not agree to these targets. I don't recall there being any discussion about these targets so I support the Torys in this regard.

  4. Wait a sec, the Conservatives have a plan to deal with climate change? They have plan, a costly plan, to deal with something that doesn't exist? I thought global warming was a hoax. What's next? A Federal Ghost Patrol? A National UFO Investigation Agency? A Bigfoot Awareness Education Campaign?

    • That just about sums it up. The NDP and Libs WILL introduce a price on carbon and a cap&trade system to save the world from a non existant threat. This is the reason and the only reason why I will vote Tory this time.

  5. You know, there's quite a bit of breathing room between "the world's gonna end" and "it's all a hoax". Somewhere between these two hyperbolic arguments is the uncomfortable truth.

    The only scientific theory that explains why the earth has consistently maintained a liquid water surface, is the CO2 Rockweathering thermostat theory. There isn't even another theory in contention frankly.

    While we can safely ignore the crazies on each end of the spectrum, we cannot ignore the fact that over time, sufficient amounts of CO2 will tilt the climate and cause us quite a bit of trouble, because the equilibrium of the Rockweathering thermostat takes a few hundred thousand years to catch up.

    Why is it rocket science to so many that sudden atmospheric changes (geologically speaking) is a bad thing?


    • it's now widely accepted that the earth has not consistently maintained liquid water at the surface. apparently, around 600 million years ago, the entire surface of earth was covered in ice.

      the bigger issue is that doomsday predictions peddled by the IPCC and the uber-hypocrit Al Gore rely on manipulated data like the hockey stick, or unproven conjectures like the water vapor feedback.

      dirty hippies have screamed so often it was the end of the world, its no wonder intelligent people dont believe them anymore.

      • As I've mentioned, I don't except end-of-the-spectrum doomsday scenarios.

        As far as the "snowball earth" periods, it's been shown multiple times that most of the earth's water was still liquid, the equator regions were still very warm, and the periods were very short. In contrast there have been periods on the earth when nearly all life was extinguished due to extremely high global temperatures.

        And you'll note that the CO2 rockweathering theory is the only one that explains all these geological anomalies. For a clear and concise explanation of the theory see the link below.

        • So you reject the snowball earth theory? Fair enough, i've seen plenty of evidence which convinced me that it was real, but there could always be other evidence pointing in the other direction.

          Never heard of periods where 'nearly all life was extinguished due to high temperatures' though.

          I thought the closest was the Permian extinction which preceded the age of the dinosaurs and which was caused by many things, including massive lava flows in Siberia and India, and the formation of Pangea.

          • I don't reject the theory, I think there's more than enough evidence that earth has gone into a deep freeze more than once. It's just a matter of what one means by deep freeze. As usual some people feel the need to exagerrate to one side or the other.

            As far as extreme heating, the more notable would be he Paleocene-Eocene thermal maximum about 56 million years ago or so. It wiped out half the life on the planet. Evidence so far points to a massive release of sea-bed methane, which of course is a far more powerful greenhouse gas than CO2.

            The earth's overall temperature rose so fast that we don't actually have any techniques precise enough to measure how fast it was, ie less than a couple thousand years.

      • dirty capitalists have screamed so often that whatever they were doing was safe and without public risk, its no wonder intelligent people dont believe them anymore.


        • i dont actually disagree with your version. i dont trust capitalists, i do however trust capitalism (in fact I credit the latter for giving me and countless others a level of wealth and comfort which would have been unthinkable even a few hundred years ago). that's still no reason to trust hippies.

  6. There's also a big gamble that our recent governments have been making: the economic risks of early or late adoption.

    There are considerable trade implications in terms of meeting the regulation standards of the various state bodies, and there could be some serious longterm headaches in terms of market access if we get things wrong.

    Being an early adopter can be expensive and difficult, but then being a late adopter can possibly shut you out of extremely lucrative markets.

    We better get this right people.

    • Indeed. Many people are not including in their calculus what political ramifications there might be for us if we try to hold out.

    • I'm not afraid of trade barriers related to carbon emissions. I say bring it on. There is no way we should be cowering to the potential threat of carbon trade barriers, if there are no carbon barriers they will simply make up another trade barrier. They are trying to sell that fear notion in Australia right now, just like Stephan Dione tried to scare us in the last fed election. He got his butt kicked over it. Since when are Canadians so chicken. I could not give rats ass about carbon trade barriers, bring them on.

  7. The CEO of the world's largest oil and gas company has been calling for a carbon tax for years. Rex Tillerson has said a carbon tax tacked on to fuel supplies and electricity consumption is the most efficient way to reflect the cost of carbon. By comparison, a cap-and-trade system is difficult to verify, requires new government regulators and "a Wall Street of emissions brokers".

    Tillerson's argument has been that only a transparent tax can send signals to consumers and producers that they will respond to with reduced emissions, increased efficiency and investments in low-carbon energy. Cap-and-trade insulates consumers and producers from the real cost of emissions, will create a provincial, national and international maze of regulators and regulations, none of which will result in emissions reductions and all of which will enrich brokers and traders, at the cost of business, consumers and the environment.

    This was headline news outside of Canada during our 2008 federal election. Only one Canadian paper, The Montreal Gazette, mentioned it (and that was to point out the echoing silence on the topic). What made this even more bizarre was the a Carbon Tax was then major campaign issue of that election — and the Canadian media ignored its endorsement by a titan of the oil and gas world.

    Not much has changed.

    • On the more self-serving side, it's easier for companies to lobby for a lower-than-effective carbon tax than it is for less effective cap and trade measures.

      • It's all to easy for companies to be gifted emissions credits gratis as part of industrial policy initiatives.

      • He addressed that critique in 2009:

        I think Tillerson wants clarity so he and his company can plan how best to create markets and make money. Regardless of the motivation (isn't everyone's favourite policy prescription "self-serving"?), the failures of cap-and-trade have more than lived up to their billing (especially in the EU) and the lack of clarity on climate/emissions policy has put companies in a bind: Do they invest now, not knowing the future regulatory landscape, or do they stand pat? Most have decided to do nothing, and governments have chosen to do nothing also. Sill we emit, fail to conserve and fail to innovate.

    • A carbon tax would reflect what? We already have taxes on fuel, we already give big oil companies subsidies and tax breaks. Why would we then ad a tax to something which has an artifically reduced cost. Why don't we reduce the tax breaks and subsidies to oil companies before we add his precious carbon tax. That might reflect the rue cost of carbon. I wonder where he bought his business degree.

  8. I've included a link of a presentation by Richard Alley from Penn State University, a paleogeologist working in the field. He goes through millions of years of geological climate history talking about various blips and changes in climate and what the state of the research on those periods is.

    And by the way, last time I checked, a scientist who uses one source of proof rather than dozens, to back up a model, doesn't last very long before he's serving "fries with that".

    • yes thank you. i have no time to read your link unfortunately. if i were to try and make my argument with links, i could provide you a bunch, from very credible sources, providing you with a point of view that I bet you havent been exposed to, and which would teach you a thing or two. it's fine to use a link as a reference for a contentious point, but if your entire argument rests on "read this link", well sorry, im not interested.

      Never heard of Richard Alley and Im sure he's very interesting. But I cant help but notice that he comes from PSU, home of fraudster and crook, Michael Mann, of the fraudulent Mann hockey stick. It doesnt bode well.

      In any event, to go back to the substance of the matter, throughout geological history, CO2 levels have risen and fallen as a function of temperature, not the other way around.

    • The American Geophysical Union, are you kidding? They're obviously socialists in Al Gore's pocket. They even call themselves a "union", for pity's sake.

      Can't you at least link to a credible source for science, like Small Dead Animals or something?

      • Boy I hope you're kidding. Someone really needs to design a "Sarcastica" font or something.

        The worst thing that can ever happen in science is to have a debate of theory become political.

        One can either debate the facts or not, and it's most often the case that those who can't, rely on argumentative tactics like appeal to authority, gish gallops or reductio ad absurdum.

        The fact that both sides have indulged on this issue is incredibly frustrating.

        There is a real issue here, but with so many of the proponents down in the mud, it's impossible to tell them apart.

        Whether that's natural or by design on the part of the parties involved, either way the truth is getting obscured.

        • Sorry, I though my closing sentence was a dead giveaway.

          • [Oh, man, did I just write "dead" giveaway? Now I have to apologize again, for the accidental pun. Although I secretly believe the accidental ones are the best ones.]

  9. Let us not forget what finally triggered this election:
    the contempt-finding condemning the Cons for lying about the F35 costs.

    • And except for a few people in Ottawa, no one gives a rats ass about it in the rest of the country.

  10. "The hockey stick data. This was actual fraud."

    Wrong. The conclusions reached in the "hockey stick" paper were found to be supported by the evidence in a subsequent U.S. National Academy of Sciences investigation. Furthermore, numerous other studies published since the "hockey stick" have found the same "hockey stick" shape made by the temperature record.

    "Upon closer examination, this shows that CO2 follows temperature. Clearly, if CO2 follows temperature, then temperature does not follow CO2."

    Wrong. The evidence shows that co2 may have followed temperature in past warmings. This doesn't prove that co2 doesn't cause warming – you'd have to overturn some basic physics to do that.
    It's pretty obvious why past warmings weren't initiated by co2 – before humans there was no mechanism for release the vast stores of fossil carbon into the atmosphere.

    "There is no hotspot in the tropical troposphere, and therefore the water vapor feedback theory has been falsified"

    Firstly, some methodologies have observed a "hot spot" , consistent with that produced by climate models.
    Secondly, the "hot spot" isn't evidence of greenhouse-caused warming, it's simply evidence of warming, and we certainly know that we've had warming.
    Thirdly, were is the literature to support your claim?

    • 2nd point

      co2 causes some warming. but its not what drives the climate. if it did, why do the vostok ice cores show that cooling always starts to occur when the CO2 is at a peak? (i.e., after a warming comes a cooling, and the cooling always precedes the decline of the CO2)

    • third point:

      you're almost correct, a hotspot is supposed to be evidence of warming. in fact if it existed, it would be evidence of the water vapor feedback, which according to the hypothesis occurs when it gets warmer.

      fact is even the IPCC admits CO2 without feedbacks causes 1.2 deg C of warming for a doubling of its concentration. and every catastrophic scenario is predicated on this yet unseen feedback. no hotpsot ->no feedback. no feedback -> no catastrophe. no catastrophe -> no billion dollars in funding for activists and climate scientists ->alfanerd happy, gore and suzuki sad.

      as for literature, every one of my claims is supported by it. go check it out.

  11. For the record, I'm not worried about 400, 500, or possibly even 600 ppm. That said the doubling rate of our emissions should trouble you. At these rates we'll be looking at 1000ppm within my grandchildren's lifetime. That may seem a long time to you, but believe me, it passes before you know it, and as such dealing with the problem sooner rather than later seems wise.

    As far as the "CO2 follows warming" observation, it ignores the fact that there are multiple sources of warming. There are a number of reasons for the earth's temperature to rise, the most prevalent being the procession of the earth's orbit, but there is some minor contribution from solar cycles, cloud cover, changes in albedo etc.

    In the case you're citing, the physics are very clear. The initial warming can be accounted for without CO2, but not the subsequent warming. Think of the CO2 in this time period like the "interest" you pay on a debt.

    It didn't initiate the debt, but just try ignoring it and see how deep you get.

    • As far as the "CO2 follows warming" observation, it ignores the fact that there are multiple sources of warming.

      No, it recognizes that fact. And CO2 is only a minor source of warming. And since Co2 follows warming, falling CO2 follows cooling. why would the earth start to cool when CO2 is peaked, if CO2 is a climate driver? A: CO2 is not a climate driver.

      The initial warming can be accounted for without CO2, but not the subsequent warming.

      That statement is predicated on the notion that if climate scientists cant explain warming otherwise, that the warming must be due to CO2. That's clearly ridiculous. Ignorance should never be the basis for a conclusion. That's what the creationists do when they try to discredit evolution: we cant explain how this animal turned into this animal, therefore, the earth is 6000 yo. Sorry, that's an exaggeration, but the inability to explain something without co2 does not mean that CO2 is the culprit.

  12. The report is from the year 2002. Paul Martin won the election two years after that report. We've had another two elections since then. Is this supposed to be a joke?

  13. That's right, I remember how the f'ight for democracy' folks like you spoke up so much when Cretien throttled that protester several years ago or when he stopped the inquiry into the Somalia affair before it got too hot. Lets continue that big fight for democracy.

  14. Um you're not suggesting that a clean energy research group could possibly be converted to a oil propaganda factory merely with some oil money are you? Well perhaps it aleady was a propaganda factory, a propaganda factory for the clean energy industry. Surely people aren't so naive to think that propaganda for the greens uses clean money but propaganda for oil uses money that is somehow dirty. Lol!

    Time to smell the coffee.