The cost of reducing GHGs

The Conservatives sent up four MPs during members’ statements this afternoon to lament for the NDP’s cap-and-trade proposal. Among them was Jeff Watson, who took a moment from discussing the auto industry, to offer this.

What our government will not do is risk auto jobs by implementing the NDP’s $21 billion carbon tax that would make minivans and the gas they run on more expensive.

For the record, though the government projects that the costs will be offset by savings on gas from fuel-efficient vehicles, the passenger automobile and light truck regulations that the Harper government is pursuing will increase the purchase price of vehicles. The Conservatives have yet to announce regulations for the oil and gas sector.

Mr. Watson was first elected as a Conservative in 2004, when the Conservative party platform included a promise to investigate a cap-and-trade system. He was a Conservative MP when the 2008 party policy declaration expressed support for a domestic cap-and-trade system and, through 2008 and 2009, when Stephen Harper, Jim Flaherty, John Baird and Jim Prentice expressed support for establishing a price on carbon. Mr. Watson was re-elected in 2008 when the party platform included plans for a continental cap-and-trade system. And he remains an MP in a government that won’t definitively rule out the possibility of pursuing cap-and-trade if the United States is prepared to do likewise. (All citations here.)

Meanwhile, Stephen Gordon again makes the case that the Harper government’s regulatory approach will ultimately be more costly than a carbon-pricing system.