Thursday, April 26, 2007

Newsflash: Ontario's Energy Minister Is Out To Lunch

I've been waiting for this.
Waiting to pounce.
Ontario's Energy Minister shot down the idea of putting scrubbers on our coal-fired electrical stations, because it would cost $1.6 billion and "doesn't help climate change". (Aside: I thought we weren't supposed to be helping climate change.)

Yep, you read it here first: Ontario's air is crystal clear. No more smog days! Yay!

It was only a matter of time before somebody in the political sphere forgot that "the environment" and "Kyoto" are not synonyms. Actually, they're closer to antonyms. It's highly debatable whether the Kyoto Protocol would reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by any appreciable amount, since (a) the biggest emitters (the U.S., China, India, and Russia) are either exempt or have no intention of signing on; and (b) Kyoto includes an "emission credit trading" system that in effect just spreads the greenhouse gas around.

Never mind meeting Kyoto. If we totally eliminate all economic activity in Canada...well, we'd all die in short order, but hey! Our sacrifice would reduce global greenhouse gas emissions by a whopping two percent. Oh, yeah, that'll help.

The federal government, for its part, is banning incandescent lightbulbs. Well, phasing them out, actually, by 2012. I don't get this. I mean, sure, every little bit helps, I guess, but why not just stop making them tomorrow? We changed all our bulbs almost three years ago, not out of any environmental zeal (one television uses about ten times the power of every light in your house put together), but out of a desire to save money. . .

Back to those coal-fired electrical stations. Duncan actually gave another justification for letting them spew filth into the atmosphere besides the cost, viz. they're slated to be shut down in seven years. What a laugh. They were originally supposed to be shut down in two years. Then the Liberals realized they had nothing to replace them with, so they said 2011 instead. Now it's 2014. By the time 2014 rolls around, don't be surprised if they intend to scrap them sometime around Last Trump.

In a way, it's not too much different from our Kyoto journey. The federal Liberals signed on, then realized that meeting Kyoto would involve eliminating the equivalent of Ontario's economy. Not surprisingly, they did nothing for twelve years, during which time our greenhouse gas emissions rose and rose and rose, faster even than those of the United States. Can't blame the Liberals, really, because I've done the same thing myself: when you realize you're obligated to perform miracles, the first one you try is a vanishing act.
Now safely out of government, of course meeting Kyoto is suddenly easy as pie. I'd to see Dion win the next election just so I can find out what magic he's got up his sleeve.

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