Having last year commended the provinces for running off in all policy directions on climate, the self-appointed Ecofiscal Commission is now stressing how important it is that they all be guided to the same destination, with Justin Trudeau as the good shepherd, and the commission as lead consultant on sheepdog training.
The tight policy pen into which they wish to restrict the country is that of “carbon pricing,” an issue that continues to heat up the wonkasphere as federal-provincial working groups fight over how to address the national emissions-reduction commitments reaffirmed by the Trudeau Liberal government in Paris last year.
One suspects that the average person spends little or no time thinking about carbon pricing, mainly because she hasn’t seen much of it yet. Ontario has certainly inflicted conspicuous damage on its economy in the name of climate control, but that is just a fraction of the economic “stringency” — i.e., pain — required to meet those Paris commitments: a 30 per cent emissions reduction below 2005 levels by 2030.
This lack of policy masochism obviously can’t continue, as the Ecofiscal Commission’s new report, “Comparing Stringency of Carbon Policies,” points out.
Carbon pricing is intended to make the use of fossil fuels — on which our industrial civilization depends — prohibitively expensive. The rationale is that emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide are threatening life on earth by warming the atmosphere and stoking catastrophic climate change.
It is intriguing that the new report stresses the problems of “complex and often contentious economic modelling,” and yet expresses no such doubts when it comes to the infinitely more complex issue of modelling the climate. The commission popped that issue down the memory hole last year when it claimed that it deferred to “the best available evidence from the scientific community.”
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