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The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change has its Head in the Sand

The Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray, is living in a carbon bubble. Noise comes out, but information doesn’t go in. The Minister’s recent response to the Chamber of Commerce request shows how out of touch the Minister has become. The Chamber is asking for inaction on the provincial Cap and Trade policy. The Minister responded with a barrage of misinformation.glen_murray-1

For example, the minister claimed that “In joining North America’s largest carbon market, we are becoming partners in the most efficient and cost effective emissions reduction program there is.” This is simply false. There is wide agreement that the BC carbon tax is the “most efficient and cost effective emissions reduction program there is.”

I don’t think that the Minister is lying. He is carefully not listening to anyone that doesn’t agree with him. He has his own truth. Unfortunately, while the Minister is allowed to have his own opinion, he doesn’t get to have his own truth. Thinking about carbon pricing has moved on, and it is time he caught up. Cap and trade was the preferred option 15 years ago. Now its failures are just too big to ignore. Cap and trade is no longer the preferred option. It is the Zombie of climate change policy.

There are other blatant misrepresentations in the Ministry Press release. The Ministry claims that “Third-party economic experts have confirmed that our plan is both the most cost effective and best at reducing emissions compared to carbon pricing alternatives.” I suspect there is some truth in this – it is possible to find “third-part experts” who claim climate change” is not real too. What is not true is that there is lot of support among economists for a cap and trade system RELATIVE TO A CARBON TAX. The view of the majority of people who study the issue is that a carbon tax will work better, will cost less and will be more efficient.

The Minister also claims that Ontario’s business community has “shown support for our plan to fight climate change because directly compared to the alternatives, it is best suited spur economic growth and achieve real emissions reductions.” This is another statement with a smidgin of truth. SOME businesses like the scheme. The ones that like it most are the ones that stand to get exemptions under cap and trade and the people who stand to make money trading carbon permits. A large number of other businesses support a simple carbon tax. It is interesting to note that smaller businesses tend to oppose any carbon pricing, while bigger ones, with better research capacity, tend to support a carbon tax.

The Minister went on to demonstrate an astonishing ignorance of how to use evidence when he cited California. He said that its economy grew at a pace that exceeded the growth of the rest of the U.S. economy once it brought in cap and trade. He is right, but it is also true that California has grown at a pace that exceeded the growth of the rest of the U.S. economy for the last 50 years. He might as wells say that California hasn’t experienced a major earthquake since it brought in Cap and Trade. There is about as much connection between Cap and Trade and California growth as there is between Cap and trade and earthquake activity.

These inaccuracies show one of two things: either the Minister is ignorant, or the Minister will say anything to avoid facing the fact that he is in charge of a policy that will fail, and is depending on public ignorance to cover his mistakes.

Either way, it is time for Glen Murray to do some research.




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