Dubious ‘Clean Energy Dialogue’ appointment

2009-04-10

in Canada, Economics, Politics, The environment

Squirrel in hail

If Canada’s government was serious about having a Clean Energy Dialogue with the United States, it probably would not have appointed a former oil sands executive to head one of the three working groups. According to DeSmogBlog, the appointee – Charlie Fischer – has 500,000 shares in Nexen, a firm that owns 7% of Syncrude, a major player in the Athabasca oil sands. That is about as clear a conflict of interest as a participant in a ‘Clean Energy Dialogue’ could have.

The logic of subjecting the oil sands to the same carbon price as the rest of the economy is very strong. Firstly, it means that low-cost emissions reduction opportunities in the sector will be realized. Secondly, with an appropriately set carbon price, it will help discourage economic activities that have negative value, once the effects of climate change are taken into account.

The logic gets even stronger when you consider a future integrated North American carbon market: the bigger the market, the more opportunity there is for a single clear price signal to induce the lowest-possible cost emissions reductions throughout the economy.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

R.K. April 14, 2009 at 12:11 am

Isn’t this just blatant criminal corruption?

. May 7, 2009 at 11:32 am

Former Syncrude exec named head of Alberta climate change fund

By Kelly Cryderman, Calgary Herald
May 6, 2009

CALGARY- Former Syncrude executive Eric Newell has been named the head of a multi-million provincial climate change fund that could begin allocating money to Alberta companies by the end the year.

“I’ve always been a believer that technology is what got to where we are today and technology is going to get us to where we need to go tomorrow,” Newell said Wednesday.

“It’s really the key to responsible energy development.”

The Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp. will manage the fund that major emitters pay when they exceed government-mandated greenhouse gas emission targets.

. May 11, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Global warming critics appointed to science boards
Harper government’s actions are ‘dreadful’ and undercut public pledges to tackle climate change, leading glaciologist says

BILL CURRY

From Monday’s Globe and Mail

May 11, 2009 at 11:17 AM EDT

OTTAWA — Top Canadian scientists are accusing the Harper government of politicizing science funding and jeopardizing climate research by naming global warming critics to key boards that fund science.

The government’s actions are “dreadful,” said Garry Clarke, a leading international glaciologist at the University of British Columbia, and undercut public pledges to tackle climate change.

“Their mouths are doing one thing and their hands are doing something different,” Prof. Clarke said.

Already alarmed over funding cuts to basic research, scientists say two appointments in particular are worrisome. Mark Mullins, the executive director of the conservative-leaning Fraser Institute — and a former adviser to the Canadian Alliance Party — was recently appointed to the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), which funds university research projects that have included studies on climate change.

R.K. May 11, 2009 at 1:13 pm

These scientific appointments are very underhanded, especially when the Conservatives claim to accept the science of climate change.

Hopefully, a credible opposition will emerge in Canada soon.

. May 14, 2009 at 2:40 pm

14 May 09
The Fantasy of “Green Bitumen”

The petro state of Alberta has outdone itself again. The Canadian province best known as home of the tars sands recently named former Syncrude executive Eric Newell to head up a multi-million provincial climate change fund. With no apparent irony, the province apparently felt that someone from the industry with the fastest growing emissions in Canada would be the best choice for this high profile job.

Newell now becomes president of the Climate Change and Emissions Management Corp, a provincial government scheme where companies that release more than 100,000 tonnes of CO2 per year are supposed to reduce their intensities by 12% or pay $15 per tonne above their target.

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