Tuesday, October 27, 2009

ZAP!! You're No Longer Emitting

As much as I hate to give attention to people who disrupt the business of parliament, with bill C-311 in the news. I decided to do what I know most people in parliament won't do: read the damn thing. Always enlightening to read new (or new again) legislation. Bill C-311 is no exception. In essence C-311 is a cap and trade bill that would tie Canada to reduce its emissions to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 and a jaw-dropping 80% by 2050. As someone who plans to be alive in 2050 (unlike, say, the NDP caucus) setting outrageous targets for the government that will be handing out my CPP is a little frightening. I assume technological miracles are being assumed in that target. Relying on miracles is always a good way to get things done. There are some really fun parts later on. For instance get a load of 7 (1) (b) which states:

"The Governor in Council may make regulations under this or any other Act within the limits of federal constitutional authority limiting the amount of greenhouse gases that may be released in each province..."

I'm sure Premiers Stelmach, Wall and Williams may have some questions about the federal government's constitutional authority to hand down such restrictions. When the flaws of your plan are right there on the page, it may be time for a new plan. Also curious is 10 (1) (a) (iii) which includes "fiscal incentives" as a means of getting emissions down. Now by fiscal incentives, the NDP couldn't mean a carbon tax right. Not after the fuss they made in the last election about Dion's evil carbon tax. The problem with the plan in general, however, is that there is very little thought about how you'd actually manage such a program. Yes you set a cap and you issue permits for emissions. Okay, are we selling the permits for a set price? Are we auctioning them off? There's a lot of different theories on how to do this and C-311 is decidedly vague. I know Liberal MPs will probably end up voting for this thing. They shouldn't. Canada's challenges on climate change are unique and are going to have to be addressed in a dynamic fashion. We can't expect to know the road ahead today.


austin said...

Wow, someone who uses common sense on this topic, very refreshing. Us Canadians need to get warm to the idea of some form of enviromental regulations, they are coming whether we like it or not. Personally I support the cap and trade over the carbon tax, but we need to stay away from Europe's version. Carbon emissions have countinued to rise while companies pass on imagenary costs of carbon credits to consumers. Either way though we need to tie our effort in with America's whenever they get around to it.

Andy said...

Very sensible, as always.

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