By Stephen Gordon - Tuesday, December 18, 2012 - 0 Comments
Any effective climate change policy requires imposing significant costs on consumers and households. Canada doesn’t have an effective climate change policy because Canadians don’t want to pay those costs.
Or do they? This is from an article posted at the David Suzuki Foundation site:
While Canada’s federal representatives — including Environment Minister Peter Kent — were doing all they could to obstruct the talks, public opinion and social research institute The Environics Institute was conducting its annual check with Canadians on our thoughts about climate change.
The findings of the new poll couldn’t paint a starker picture of the divide between Canadians and their political leaders.
More and more of us are confident about the science that shows climate change is happening and that we are mainly responsible for it, largely through burning fossil fuels. The good news in the poll concerns what Canadians believe we should do to tackle this serious issue. Across the country and among all political stripes, most of us believe that governments need to do far more to curb emissions. As the pollsters note, “a clear majority believe the problem is real, that government must take the lead role through new regulations and standards, and that citizens like themselves must help pay for the necessary actions through taxes and higher prices for the goods and services they consume.”
By Erica Alini - Friday, February 24, 2012 at 5:53 PM - 0 Comments
Yesterday marked a rather unremarkable chapter in the ongoing PR battle between the Harper government and much of the rest of the world around Alberta’s oil. On Thursday the EU held a vote on whether to label the oilsands as a dirtier kind of feedstock, a move that would make fuel derived from it less competitive compared to oil refined from “cleaner” kinds of crude. It was a deliberation among technical experts–not elected officials–and it failed to reach the qualified majority required under the EU’s mind-boggling voting system anyway. The vote that matters (by ministers of EU countries) will be held in June.
Nonetheless, both sides sized this virtually irrelevant step in the EU’s Byzantine legislative process to make some noise in the press–there was also news this week that Ottawa threatened a trade war if Brussels goes ahead with the purported fuel-labelling. So it’s as good an opportunity as any to ask: Does Europe have a valid point about the oilsands?
Brussels’ Fuel Quality Directive, as the measure is called, is far from perfect. Andrew Leach, of the University of Alberta, points out that the EU’s classification of different types of fuel, which is based on definitions used by the U.S. Geological Survey, makes some iffy distinctions between oilsands and other kinds of heavy oil that are likely just as polluting. Trying to classify fuels as more or less dirty based on the type of crude oil they came from, concludes Leach, isn’t the best way to go: “The EU FQD, as proposed, will treat some high emissions crudes as low emissions crudes, and they could greatly improve the policy by initially including all … heavy oil production at a high benchmark.” Even Alberta’s Pembina Institute notes that the EU could fine-tune things by “differentiating in the directive between crude supply types (e.g. for heavy oil).”