Conservative Party climate policies would cause Canada to miss Paris targets by 109 megatonnes
Andrew Scheer’s climate plan continues to be panned by economists. The latest study, from Clean Prosperity, demonstrates that the cost of the existing federal carbon tax of $20 per tonne is exceeded many times by almost every one of the Conservative Party’s proposals. To make matters worse, Canadian greenhouse gases would actually rise significantly by 2030.
“By removing current measures like the carbon tax and rebate, this plan will do too little to actually reduce emissions and more to raise the cost of living for Canadian households,” said Michael Bernstein, the executive director of Clean Prosperity, in a press release. “This offers more proof that a carbon tax is the right way to address climate change.”
Watch my video interview with Bernstein here.
The problem for carbon pricing champions like Bernstein, of course, is that “carbon tax” is a dirty word for many Canadians. Conservative governments recently won elections in Ontario and Alberta in large part because of disgruntled voters who bought the narrative that carbon levies are just unnecessary tax grabs.
The value of the Clean Prosperity study is that Canadians, if they choose to consider the issue, can compare the cost of carbon pricing versus subsidies and regulations. If for some reason they still prefer to pay the much higher cost of the latter, then at least they will have made an informed, rational choice. Because regardless of Scheer’s empty promises to the contrary, the economic modeling results from Clean Prosperity and EnviroEconomics show that the CPC climate plan would deliver higher emissions and higher costs for Canadian households.
The federal carbon tax is $20 per tonne and will rise by $10 per tonne annually to $50 per tonne in 2022. Natural Resources Canada estimates that federal and provincial carbon taxes add 6.73 cents to a litre of gasoline in Alberta, 8.89 cents in British Columbia, 4.42 cents in Ontario, and 4.92 cents in Quebec.
According to the Clean Prosperity study, some of the policies in the Conservative plan would price emissions reductions at ten times that rate. The Green Homes Tax Credit, for example, has an expected emissions reduction cost of $439 per tonne of carbon dioxide, while the Green Technology and Innovation Fund is projected to reduce emissions at $272 per tonne.
“There’s no need to pay hundreds of dollars per tonne to reduce emissions when you can pay a carbon price that’s one-tenth that amount,” Bernstein says. “Let’s invest our carbon-reduction capital where it can get the best return.”
Public opinion polling consistently shows that Conservative voters are the most skeptical that climate change is caused by human activity and they’re the least supportive of government actions to mitigate global warming. A plan that would grow Canadian greenhouse gas emissions by 9 megatonnes (Mt) by 2022 and 30 Mt by 2030 compared to the current suite of policies, causing Canada to miss its Paris targets by 109 Mt, suggests that Scheer is pandering to his political base rather than offering a credible policy alternative.
The Clean Prosperity study makes plain that the Conservative emperor has no clothes. If Conservative voters want to pay more for a worse outcome, then that’s their choice, but the 70 per of Canadian voters that currently don’t support Scheer and the CPC don’t have to make the same mistake now that they have the data available.