Month: October 2019

PROFOUND ANSWERS TO A PROFOUND QUESTION: IS THE GLASS HALF EMPTY OR HALF FULL?

For some lighter reading than my normally intense posts, I asked some well-known people for their opinions on this profound question: is the glass half-empty or half-full? As they were all much too busy to answer my question in person I had to make up their answers myself.


 

Donald Trump: There’s no water in that glass. It’s all fake news.

Al Gore: Unless you agree with me that the glass is empty you are a denier.

United Nations Panel on Climate Change: Our scientists say with absolute confidence that climate change will cause the water in the glass to boil by 2100.

Greta Thunberg: Your house is on fire and all you have to put it out with is half a glass of water? How dare you!

Oil Industry Spokesperson: The water looks clean to me.

Greenpeace: Let’s organize street demonstrations and protest strikes until the glass is entirely filled.

WWF: Don’t worry, we will tell Trudeau to make it subject to our new environmental assessment law, for 10 years of hearings.

The Guardian: We will not stay silent on this issue.

David Suzuki: We are going to sponsor a constitutional lawsuit to obtain a judicial determination of the question.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau: I drank the rest of the water in the glass, but I only did it to save Canadian jobs.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna: The water in that glass is subject to our new “hydrogen tax” based on the polluter pay principle.

Former Attorney-General Jody Wilson-Raybould: I’ll drink the water, but I refuse to drink the Kool-Aid.

Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer: If it votes Tory, what do I care how much water is in it?

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh: If the water in that glass came from a wealthy tap it will have to pay wealth tax.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May: If the water isn’t green I’m not drinking it.

Conrad Black: The aqueous liquid in that non-crystalline, transparent amorphous solid occupies precisely half of its volumetric content.

 

Canada’s Carbon Tax: Saving the Planet or Killing our Economy?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada must fight climate change with a rising carbon tax. But several provincial premiers have attacked the federal carbon tax in court as an unconstitutional “tax grab” that will severely harm Canada’s economy. Saskatchewan has lost its case, as has Ontario.

A tax of the planned $50/tonne, with most of the revenue rebated, is unlikely to be either seriously harmful or seriously effective at this rate. But if it continues to increase, and is supplemented by policies that massively subsidize or otherwise compel greatly expanded solar and wind generation, the economy will be harmed. Premature, politically determined investments in the wrong green technologies will leave many Canadian families freezing in the dark.

The evil Dogbert mocks the current green technology:

dt_c110329

DILBERT © Scott Adams. Used By permission of ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION. All rights reserved.

To achieve Canada’s promised 30% emissions reduction by 2030 with current technology would be enormously costly. That cost can only be raised through much higher taxes (whether on income, sales or CO2), without rebates. No country can afford to get it wrong and blow a bundle on something that doesn’t significantly reduce CO2 emissions, then raise taxes even more to try plan B and then plan C, etc.

If our government decides to invest heavily now in the currently available technology, as was done in Germany, it can lead to stratospheric electricity prices and an unreliable electricity supply. In Germany, taxes, levies, and surcharges in 2019 account for nearly 53 percent of a total household power price of 44 cents Canadian per kilowatt hour, among the highest in Europe [cleanenergywire]. In Canada, the price in Montreal is 8.2 cents, and Toronto, 15.11 cents [nrcan]. And Germany has had to build new coal plants to restore the reliability of its electricity grid when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow. Any Canadian government that gives us German electricity prices will be destined for electoral  defeat.

Lower and even middle income Canadians would find it increasingly difficult to pay for the very expensive electricity to heat their homes and cook their food electrically (no more gas furnaces or stoves) and keep the lights and appliances on, as well as the very expensive gasoline to drive to work.  During Canada’s National Energy Program (1980-1985), which was much hated in Alberta, there were many Alberta bumper stickers saying “Let the Eastern Bastards Freeze in the Dark.” If our energy transition is rushed with technology that isn’t yet up to the task, many Canadians all across the country will freeze in the dark.

Continue reading “Canada’s Carbon Tax: Saving the Planet or Killing our Economy?”

THE ‘CLIMATE CRISIS’: DON’T PANIC, IT’S NOT THE TITANIC! Part 2 of 2

Chimneys

The above photo is typically what we see in articles urging us to save the planet from an imminent climate crisis by quickly ending “carbon pollution” from fossil fuels. Such photos of chimneys belching large clouds are misleading because carbon dioxide is invisible. But showing chimneys emitting an invisible gas would not be scary. And scary sells.

A Canadian tax on carbon dioxide emissions is highly controversial among politicians, but less so among economists. My review of the applicable tax legislation showed me that it is a well drafted law. At the current tax level a fully rebated tax may be justified as a step in the right direction because that will help Canada to meet its Paris Agreement commitments. But our government’s justifying its carbon dioxide tax on the “polluter pay principle” are both misleading and confusing.

Calling CO2 a Pollutant is Misleading

It is misleading because CO2 is not “pollution” in the normal way that word has usually been used, for example, by the World Health Organization [WHO. ] The WHO reports that annually some 4.2 million people die from outdoor air pollution and 3.8 million from household air pollution (total of 8 million). Most of the developing world breathes polluted air, especially indoor air, polluted by burning animal dung, wood and charcoal for cooking and heating. WHO lists the outdoor and indoor air pollutants that represent the greatest threat, but CO2 is not on that list. Typical pollutants are, e.g. lead, particulate matter, ground level ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide and carbon monoxide.

Unlike toxic pollutants in the air in developing countries, 100% of the people in the world breathe air with carbon dioxide in it. None of us get sick or die from breathing the CO2 in the air. CO2 is found in every soft drink and beer. I would hate to think that when I drink my glass of soda water or my beer, I am drinking toxic pollution.

Continue reading “THE ‘CLIMATE CRISIS’: DON’T PANIC, IT’S NOT THE TITANIC! Part 2 of 2”