October 10, 2018 12:21 am
Updated: October 10, 2018 10:31 am

Roy Green: A pan-Canadian carbon tax slipping out of reach

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is spreading his populist message in other provinces. He received a rousing reception in Alberta, where he joined forces with Jason Kenney from the United Conservative Party. As Sean O'Shea reports, the premier is fuelled by his mission to scrap the carbon tax.

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This week the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued the latest in a seemingly endless series of climate alarms.

The world has only 12 years to impact a climate change catastrophe, the headlines shouted.

READ MORE: Canada must cut emissions by half in 12 years to meet stiff new targets, UN says

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The target of this message is primarily U.S. President Donald Trump, who slammed the door on a plan to direct a stream of billions of American taxpayer dollars to what is known as the Green Climate Fund (GCF), thereby largely upending the 2015 Paris Climate Accord’s financial commitment from major developed nations to their underdeveloped counterparts.

America is out and the rest of the world is not at all keen to fill the void.

Let’s bring this one home, where the climate question/argument is focused on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s demand for a coast to coast to coast Canadian carbon tax.

READ MORE: Trudeau says it’s ‘unfortunate’ conservative politicians don’t agree with carbon tax

Trudeau and Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, have already pointed to this week’s IPCC calamity-in-waiting epistle as proof of the need for a national carbon tax.

McKenna tweeted furiously that Ontario’s refusal to play ball is “unbelievable.”

Maybe not so much.

Trudeau is increasingly is facing a firewall of opposition to his pan-Canadian tax plan. Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have all declared their unequivocal refusal to play ball, and when Francois Legault assumes becomes premier of Quebec in a matter of days, the firewall will grow.

If Alberta voters have tired of NDP stewardship of Wild Rose Country and turn to Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party at the end of next May, a national carbon tax would appear a complete nonstarter, if it isn’t already.

READ MORE: Can provincial conservative anti-carbon tax momentum translate to federal gains?

Are the premiers determined to see to this? Listen to my interviews of last Saturday with Scott Moe of Saskatchewan and Brian Pallister of Manitoba. There’s no give at all on this issue.

Trudeau doesn’t deal well with dissent.

There’s another hurdle between the clearly irritated prime minister and successful delivery of his pan-Canadian carbon tax. Canadians will vote federally in almost exactly 12 months (Oct. 21, 2019). Recent history and cursory geographical examination reveal Liberal governments in Canada, outside the Atlantic provinces, are hot on the heels of the Dodo bird.

The two loudest Liberal premier carbon tax cheerleaders, Ontario’s Kathleen Wynne and Philippe Couillard of Quebec, saw their cap and trade, carbon trading anschluss with California’s Governor Jerry Brown dramatically decoupled by voters when the two provincial Liberal parties crashed from majority government status to no official party status at all. And no dance partners for Brown.

Is there though a solid case to be made against a national, even a global carbon tax?

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Bjorn Lomborg, former director of the Danish government’s Environmental Assessment Institute, now head of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre think tank whose participants include several Nobel Laureates, shared with us on air just weeks ago that a carbon tax of global proportion would so dramatically raise the cost of food that 78 million people would be driven to hunger.

Lomborg, in a column carried by the New York Post, wrote: “Activist organizations like Worldwatch argue that higher temperatures will make more people hungry, so drastic carbon cuts are needed. But a comprehensive new study published in Nature Climate Change led by researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis has found that strong global climate action would cause far more hunger and food insecurity than climate change itself.”

The scientists engaged in the study used eight global-agricultural models to analyze various scenarios between now and 2050. These models suggest, on average, that climate change left alone could put an extra 24 million people at risk of hunger. The areas most vulnerable are sub-Saharan Africa and India.”

“Trying to help 24 million people by imperiling 78 million people’s lives is a very poor policy,” Lomborg concludes.

Indeed.

Roy Green is the host of the Roy Green Show on the Global News Radio network.

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