Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first budget will spend about $10 billion of our money over the next five years (including in foreign countries) on what he claims are climate change initiatives.
The problem is, he’s doing it without any concrete plan in place to lower industrial greenhouse gas emissions linked to climate change.
On June 29, 2015, then Liberal leader Trudeau said: “It is time Canada put a price on carbon pollution.”
As prime minister, he didn’t do it in Tuesday’s budget.
He opted instead, as he promised during the election, to give billions of dollars to the provinces to support their carbon pricing schemes.
That will buy their endorsement, along with that of environmental groups, but it sticks taxpayers with a huge bill which has no clear purpose.
Trudeau’s budget completely muddies the waters about what is and isn’t a climate change initiative — throwing into the basket spending that has nothing to do with it.
He’s also redefined capital spending on public transit as a climate change initiative, by definition. That’s nonsense. It depends on the project.
Municipalities and provinces are notorious for building half-empty subways and other transit projects to nowhere, whose routes are decided by political rather than planning considerations. That’s just stupid capital spending. It doesn’t lower emissions.
Same goes for publicly subsidizing green energy.
Aside from the fact they’re expensive, unreliable and require fossil fuel energy to back them up, if you put wind turbines in the wrong location, they never save the greenhouse gas emissions it took to build them.
You don’t lower emissions by just throwing public money out the door.
That’s what Ontario did and it ended in skyrocketing electricity rates and a multi-billion-dollar wind and solar boondoggle, which wasn’t needed to replace coal-fired electricity, which Ontario actually did with nuclear and natural gas power.
Trudeau is sending Canadian taxpayers down the same road.
According to his government’s own numbers, Canada has to reduce its industrial greenhouse gas emissions by between 127 megatonnes (a megatonne, or Mt, is one million tonnes) and 168 Mt by 2020, and between 241 Mt and 351 Mt by 2030.
Cutting emissions by 127 Mt, the minimum needed by 2020, would mean the equivalent of shutting down all of Canada’s electricity sector (85 Mt) plus half of the building sector (43 Mt), in less than five years.
Cutting them by 351 Mt, the maximum needed by 2030, would mean the equivalent of shutting down Canada’s entire oil and gas sector (179 Mt), and transportation sector (170 Mt), in less than 15 years.
None of this is going to happen through carbon pricing alone. B.C.’s carbon tax, considered one of the best in the world, will only reduce its emission by a projected three Mt annually by 2020, so there will need to be other measures taken nationally.
But throwing money at the problem — without any hard targets, or deadlines as Trudeau has done — isn’t going to lower emissions effectively.
The only reason Canada’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions will drop this year is due to the collapse of global oil prices and because of that, Trudeau hasn’t reduced fossil fuel subsidies as he promised in the election campaign.
All this budget will do is force Canadians to pay billions of dollars more for the “sin” of using fossil fuel energy for years to come — like the papal indulgences of old — which won’t lower emissions effectively or efficiently.