Don't do as I don't say, do as I don't do

In my other piece this week, I discover to my shock and horror that Stephen Harper also has a risky scheme to tax everything — or half of everything at any rate.

It’s the Conservatives’ own green plan, the one they don’t talk about much these days. Nut grafs:

But if the question is which plan is economically “riskier” … the answer is clear: the Conservatives’. We know how much the Liberal plan will cost. We’ve no idea what the price of the Conservative plan will be. Well, we can guess: the government forecasts the market price of emissions credits in 2010 at about $25 a tonne, rising to $65 a tonne by 2018 — not far off the cost of the Liberal carbon tax…

The only way the Conservative plan could cost less than the Liberal plan is if it reduced emissions less. As indeed is the plan: while the Liberals also target 20 per cent reductions in emissions by 2020, that’s from 1990 levels, the original Kyoto reference point. The Tory reductions are measured against 2006 levels — 22 per cent higher than the 1990 benchmark…

Moreover, there is virtually no chance of meeting even the more relaxed Tory timetable… Simulations by Simon Fraser University’s Mark Jaccard… suggest current government policy would result in reductions of about 120 Mt by 2020 from projected levels, i.e. from the levels to which they would otherwise have risen. But in absolute terms, emissions “are unlikely to fall below current levels,” meaning we’re on track to overshoot our target by something like 200 Mt…

In sum, the Conservative plan is just as costly as the Liberals’… twice as complicated… and probably half as effective.


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