Premier Christy Clark and Environment Minister Mary Polak plug in an electric car at an announcement of the government's latest climate change plan in Richmond Aug. 19.

BC VIEWS: B.C. fails to save the planet

Premier Christy Clark isn't going into next year's election with a promise to jack up Canada's only significant carbon tax

A B.C. Liberal operative was out with the online spin hours before Premier Christy Clark confirmed the much-leaked news in a Friday afternoon announcement at an obscure location in Richmond.

The, er, freeze is continuing for B.C.’s ground-breaking, world-saving carbon tax, which hasn’t changed since before Clark was elected in 2013.

The spin was Olympic-themed, with a picture labeled to show B.C. as a swimmer far out in the lead in the pool, to symbolize that it’s the other provinces that need to catch up in the race to save the planet.

Clark has been saying that for years, and there is merit to it. Even without a tax on “process emissions” such as from cement kilns, B.C.’s carbon tax encourages imports of non-taxed cement from the U.S. and China.

Alberta business professor Andrew Leach, who advised the Stephen Harper and then Rachel Notley governments on greenhouse gas policies, summed up the problem this way.

“Until the rest of the world has policies that impose similar cost, you’re not actually reducing emissions to the extent you think,” Leach said. “You’re just displacing the emissions and the economic activity to other jurisdictions.”

Alberta is moving to join B.C. with a modest carbon tax, but the NDP government plans to spend the proceeds rather than return them in income tax as B.C. has done. And Washington state and most of the rest of the world have no carbon tax as such, so their businesses benefit from B.C.’s “climate leadership.”

B.C.’s foreign-funded eco-radical community was, needless to say, appalled. The Pembina Institute’s Matt Horne and career protesters Tzeporah Berman and Merran Smith were named to the premier’s advisory committee last year, along with business, academic and aboriginal representatives.

They concluded that increases to B.C.’s broad-based tax on carbon fuels should resume its upward march in 2018.

Other committee members, including the mayors of Surrey, Comox and Burns Lake, were not heard from. Public discussion on this issue is now reduced to a staged conflict between those who demand a holy war on deadly carbon dioxide “pollution,” and those who don’t care if their grandchildren perish in a hell-fire of fossil fuel use.

We’ve just come off another El Nino year, like the hot year of 1998. Regular readers will recall the last time I discussed this topic was this spring, where I questioned the premier’s dire warnings of another horrendous forest fire season.

What followed has been one of the slowest forest fire seasons in the last decade, although dry conditions have finally emerged this month. Climate predictions, like next week’s weather forecast, are less than consistent.

I am regularly sent messages calling me a “climate change denier,” the nonsense term that continues to be used by federal Environment Minister Catharine McKenna among many others. I know of no one who denies that climate is always changing, at times dramatically.

If you wish to believe that paying an extra seven cents a litre for gasoline in B.C. is helping to slow the very gradual increase in temperatures we’re seeing in the northern hemisphere, you are free to do so.

You may even be persuaded to take a government subsidy and buy an expensive, short-range electric car. Me, I’m off to Prince Rupert and Revelstoke pretty soon, so I’ll stick with my little four-cylinder gas sipper for now.

Hydro-powered B.C. represents a small fraction of the less than two per cent Canada contributes to global greenhouse gas emissions. We’re not the problem, and no, the world is not looking to us for guidance.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A pair of crashes on Highway 1 between Abbotsford and Chilliwack have snarled traffic in both directions.
Pair of crashes snarl traffic between Abbotsford and Chilliwack

Traffic delays eastbound, large westbound backup

Final numbers won't be known for weeks, but turnout was down across the board in the Fraser Valley and B.C.
Chart: Tyler Olsen
Election turnout down across Fraser Valley and B.C.

Even after thousands of mail-in ballots counted, turnout is likely to fall below 50% in many ridings

NEWS FILE PHOTO
Voters in Chilliwack, Abbotsford, Mission and Langley may head back to polls in 2021

Election of local politicians in BC vote would trigger by-elections in several Fraser Valley cities

Simon Gibson watching the vote count at the Best Western Hotel in Mission. With 98 polls reporting, Gibson leads NDP challenger Alexis by 188 votes. / Kevin Mills photo.
Abbotsford-Mission riding too close to call, mail-in ballots will decide

98 polls reporting: BC Liberal incumbent Simon Gibson leads NDP challenger Pam Alexis by 188 votes

Chelsa Meadus, BC Liberal party candidate for the riding of Maple Ridge-Mission, watches the election results come in with her son Preston, 13, at the Maple Ridge Seniors Activity Centre Saturday evening. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)
NDP’s Bob D’Eith front-runner for Maple Ridge-Mission

D’Eith looking forward to getting back to work as riding’s MLA

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

This Crescent Beach home, located at 12505 22 Ave., was subject of a police search warrant June 18. (Google image)
Civil forfeiture office alleges $2M Surrey home was used to launder cannabis money

Court documents request the home, and $85,000 to be turned over to the government

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

Provincial Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau speaks at Provincial Green Party headquarters at the Delta Victoria Ocean Pointe in Victoria. (Arnold Lim / Black Press)
VIDEO: Furstenau leads BC Greens to win first riding outside of Vancouver Island

Sonia Furstenau became leader of BC Greens one week before snap election was called

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Mounties looking for teen boy ‘unlawfully at large’ from Riverview psychiatric hospital

Nolan Godron left the hospital, located at 2721 Lougheed Highway in Coquitlam, without consent on Saturday

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

Most Read