Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Margaret Wente Misses The Point... Again

One of my least favourite columnists is at it again. Margaret Wente has an annoying habit of presenting something that is news to her like it is news to everyone else. Yes Ms. Wente, I know and I'm pretty sure Stephane Dion knows that Canada's efforts to stop climate change won't add up to a hill of beans if the rest of the world doesn't get on board. What Ms. Wente fails to realize in her moment of personal epiphany is that the only way the world is going to get on board is if countries like Canada get their act together. China and other developing states have the stated position that they will act only when the rest of the world acts. Canada can't stop global warming. We all know that. We also know that if every country took Ms. Wente's logic, nothing would ever get done. We can only hope for the sake of the planet, that the obstacles which have stood in the way of getting something accomplished will finally come down. We can ill afford this kind of selfish, defeatist thinking.

Update: Instead of putting in a massive comment, I'm using the bully pulpit to respond to some of the comments below. First of all, I cannot agree with "the it's too hard, so let's give up now" mentality that Ms. Wente et al. espouse. Second, let's do some math on that $1.1. billion figure for Ontario electricity. Let's assume that somewhere between 1/4 and a 1/3 of electricity use is industrial or commercial (rough estimates I know). So let's say that business will be on the hook for about $300 million. Hell, CIBC loses that in a quarter. That leaves $800 million for residential consumers. Ontario has about 12 million people, let's take the average household around 2.5 people that means about 4.8 million households. The average cost annually per household would be a whopping$166.67 or about 46 cents/day. Obviously, if you are air conditioning 5000 sqft you are paying more than if you are blowing a fan over 500 sqft. So not a huge burden for even the poorest among us. Finally, there are dates and costs in the green shift. Pages 29-31 of the booklet available on the website should provide some enlightenment although there is more information elsewhere in the pamphlet.


wilson said...

At ANY cost?

''....For example, last year, Ontario's five generating stations that run on fossil fuels produced just over 28 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions.

As a result, Dion's scheme would slap a whopping tax of $1.1 billion just on those five power stations, increasing the cost of operating them by a staggering 80% or more.

As the spokesman for Ontario Power says, someone would have to pay....'

Anonymous said...

Then why the rush? Why play with fire re tax's and people's jobs and lives for something that we cannot stop? You had better get ready for more columns like Ms Wente's. What about Weston's column today..or Paul Well's column last week...or Lorrie Goldstiens everyday...or van Dente's last week. This new Liberal policy was poorly thought out and somehow I cant help but think that alot of Lib MP's knew this. billg

Acid Reflux (acidrefluxweb.com) said...

I never trust the comments of someone who is anonymous. For every Wente column there are more that support the idea. If this plan was so poorly thought out why do so many economists seem to support it, why do the British Tory's seem to like this kind of idea.

It's unfortunate that in our sound-bite era that these are concepts requiring analysis to a degree many are not capable.

JimBobby said...

GHG's and conventional pollution come out of the same Ontario Hydro smoke stacks. I ca see the yellow crap coming out of the Nanticoke stacks from my house right now. Automotive tailpipe emissions pump out toxic pollutants and GHG's. When we reduce GHG output, we also reduce conventional pollutant output.

The latest estimates say that over 9000 Canadians die prematurely each year due to poor air quality in the Great Lakes basin. The most conservative estimates put the figure down around 3000 premature deaths per year. Many times that number of people are treated for asthma attacks and other air-quality related problems.

From a purely humanitarian standpoint, these numbers of preventable deaths and suffering should be a high priority. But we have a publicly funded healthcare system. Dirty air is costing Canadians billions of dollars in avoidable health care costs.

We're already paying for the toxins spewed out by those 5 generators. We're paying in human misery, premature death and also in real dollars.

The world is moving to a low-carbon economy. Canada can dig in its heels and refuse to modernize, in which case we'll suffer the economic woes that are all too evident due to the high price of fossil fuels. Or, we can try to catch up to the Europeans and reduce our dependency of fuels that are going up in price, carbon tax or not.


Anonymous said...

I'm not debating the carbon tax, its an endless debate with both sides yelling how right they are, my comment that I signed billg is, that when the Liberals put this policy out it was poorly thought out. No targets, no dates, no costs...and, a print media that when it smells blood pounce's. So dont get pissy when the print media pounces. Hey...when Bill Graham comes out and calls it nothing more then a wealth redistribution scheme you know its bad policy. BILLG

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