Renewable energy and the budget

2010-03-05

in Canada, Economics, Politics, The environment

Tim Weis, from the Pembina Institute, does a good job of showing why Canada’s most recent budget is not well aligned with the government’s target on renewable energy, namely to move from generating 77% of our energy from non-emitting sources now (mostly hydro and nuclear) to generating over 90% that way by 2020. It’s a laudable goal, but one hardly advanced by the investment of a mere $25 million in renewable energy in the forestry sector, or continued inaction on the regulation of greenhouse gases.

If Canada is serious about becoming a “clean energy superpower,” we need to do better than this.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Tristan March 6, 2010 at 9:29 pm

There’s no “we”. There’s only us and them. And there’s no “us”. Not yet. But after there’s an “us”, we might have a chance at forming a “we”.

Tristan March 6, 2010 at 9:29 pm

Also, there’s no “them”.

. March 15, 2010 at 11:46 am

Marc Lee: B.C. budget offers inaction on climate change

By Marc Lee

The 2010 B.C. budget was a disappointment on the climate action front. Even as Premier Campbell waxed poetic in the Globe about the impact of climate change on the “Spring Olympics”—with its sunny days, crocuses, daffodils, and cherry blossoms making it fun for people on the street but a big mess up at Cypress Bowl—the budget offered little assurance that this government still cares.

Instead, the budget is best symbolized by the Olympic flame, whose massive size and burning cauldrons make a fitting monument to the oil and gas industry, a testament to our brazen determination to burn fossil fuels.

Subsidies to the oil and gas industry remain untouched in the budget, and royalties paid by the sector are half of levels in previous years, in part due to royalty reductions from last August’s “oil and gas stimulus package” (like they really needed it). In addition, in the budget’s transportation investment plan, 86 percent of provincial funds go to roads and bridges, including favoured projects like the Gateway highway expansion program and the “oil and gas rural road improvement program.”

There was some expectation that the government would announce a plan for the B.C. carbon tax, which hits $30 a tonne in July 2012, then hits a wall. If I were a businessperson in B.C., I would want to know the outlook post-2012 and what this meant for capital investments in the near term. But there was silence on that front, and no mention of extending the tax to cover major sectors not currently covered by the tax, like aluminum, cement, lime, and (you knew this was coming) much of the oil and gas industry.

From a climate justice perspective (i.e. making sure that climate change initiatives don’t have an unfair impact), it’s troubling that the budget includes no increases to the low-income carbon tax credit, which more than offset the carbon tax for the bottom 40 percent of income earners in year one (starting July 1, 2008), and roughly neutralized it in year two. The growth of the credit is not keeping up with the growth in the tax, and will make the overall regime regressive as of July 1, 2010—thus placing a greater burden on low-income folks who have done the least to contribute to the problem in the first place.

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