Sunday, August 24, 2008

NDP quick to point out inconsistencies in Liberal carbon policies

Well we have to start our recaps somewhere, so why not with the opposition finding a few holes in the whole Liberal Carbon policy. This from the July 31st edition of the Daily News.

Victoria's carbon stance hypocritical, fume critics
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Thursday, July 31, 2008

The New Democrats are making a strong stand against British Columbians getting hit with a carbon tax while the province's big polluters, they say, are let off the hook until 2012.
NDP environment critic Shane Simpson was at the Western Climate Initiative in San Diego this week calling for action on behalf of the B.C. government, while representing the province at the conference aimed at developing regional strategies to address climate change.

"I'm here today to identify collective and cooperative ways to reduce greenhouse gases in B.C., and to raise New Democrat concerns over a cap-and-trade system that won't target industry greenhouse gas emissions until at least 2012," said Simpson, the MLA for Vancouver Hastings.
"Gordon Campbell brought in a fuel tax for ordinary consumers on July 1, but now he says he's not going to bother going after big polluters for at least four more years. British Columbians want real action on climate change, not a tax that hits consumers while letting big polluters off the hook."

The WCI released a report Wednesday that says a regional cap-and-trade system will not be in place until 2012, despite initial indications from the provincial government that emitters could be covered by a cap-and-trade system as early as 2009.

North Coast MLA Gary Coons is in agreement that real action on climate change is necessary, including targeting big polluters while providing tools to help ordinary people reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.

"The message is; parents buying food for their children's lunches deserve to pay for their carbon sins, but Teck Cominco can just keep digging up coal and pumping out carbon without any consequences," said Coons.

"This is completely backwards. Big companies have the resources and the technology at their disposal to make big cuts in their carbon output, while ordinary British Columbians are often trapped by a lack of choices."

Coons is quick to point out what he says is the hypocrisy of a government willing to accommodate and cater to oil and gas companies, and then tax residents for using the products that those companies produce. The MLA noted that more than 30 per cent of emissions from major polluters are not covered by the fuel tax, which does not apply to fugitive emissions and flaring at gas wells.

"If Gordon Campbell really wanted to protect our environment, would he be pushing to drill for oil and gas from Queen Charlotte sound?" asked Coons. "What is this fuel tax supposed to achieve, especially given the fact that it gives big polluters a pass? Campbell should focus on promoting local agriculture and providing infrastructure to smaller cities to help decrease car reliance."

Another area of contention for the North Coast representative is the government's unwillingness to stop Shell from drilling for coalbed methane at the headwaters of the Skeena River, despite what he says is strong opposition to the plan from individuals and communities in the watershed.
"Methane is an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and gas flaring from wells accounts for 13.5 per cent of British Columbia's greenhouse gas emissions," said Coons.

"It's completely hypocritical for this government to back Shell's drive for hydrocarbons while saying we need to reduce emissions. We have a society designed around cheap gas. Until we build more choices into the system, unfair gas taxes will not produce appreciable decreases in carbon emissions. They will only hit working families, and those least able to afford it, in the pocketbook."

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