Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Stephen Harper Readies His Carbon Tax

Apparently, Harper will be revealing his national emissions targets on Thursday, March 29th. From Claudia Cattaneoin in today's Fin. Post:

Word in the oilpatch is that Ottawa's plan will be tougher than Alberta's, but not as stringent as the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.

Translation: Canada's oil-and-gas sector will have to pay up to meet Alberta's new regulations, and pay up even more to meet Ottawa's.

(Under Alberta's greenhouse gas regulations, announced this month, the 100 facilities that account for about 70% of the province's total emissions are required to cut emissions intensity by 12%, starting July 1, or about six months earlier than expected. Large emitters have the option of making operating improvements, buying an Alberta-based offset or contributing to a new fund that will invest in technology to reduce emissions.)

While Ottawa's plan is not expected to kick in until 2010, the two sets of regulations are likely to stack up on top of each other.

Ignore the woe-is-the-oilpatch tone and contemplate the political implications. Though the Harper plan will fall short dreadfully, it will be the same in kind as Dion's initiative. That is, it will be very difficult to tar the Liberal plan as being radical. Everybody is offering up some kind of a carbon tax, or at least something that can be interpreted as a carbon tax! The difference will be merely in the stringency of the various regulatory regimes, and the Liberal message should therefore be: Harper's plan is SOFT on Polluters, whereas Dion gets TOUGH with those who would use out skies as a garbage dump.

That's an easy battle to fight.


Anonymous said...

I'm a little confused. If the Harper plan is the same kind as the Dion plan but far too soft on polluters, then Dion's must be far more harsh.

How could this not be portrayed as radical? If I lock up a car thief for 6 months and you would lock him up for 5 years, its the same kind of punishment. But I think I could still successfully portray you as radical.

bigcitylib said...

Much more difficult than if I had said lets hang him. In your scenario, we are arguing about details, not fundamentals.

Harper can now no longer claim credibly, for example, that Dion would raise a particular tax while he would not. Its down to a question of details.