The Globe and Mail first reported on this report a while back, but I thought I would bring a few items that it contains to your attention. You see the report was written with a simple goal. If we had to make the governments currently weak targets of CO2 reduction (20% below 2006 levels by 2020) what would you need to do and how would that look across the country in terms of jobs and GDP (It also looked at a deeper target, but I’m ignoring that for now).
The answer was somewhat surprising in the regards any cap and trade system simply won’t be enough to even get to the current modest target even with a carbon price starting at $40/tonne and rising to $100/tonne by 2020. The government would have to do a lot more. How much more? Well here are a few items:
- Oil and gas companies must stoke venting and flaring unless needed for safety reasons.
- New commercial building would need to be at least LEED Gold standard and new homes must be 50% more efficient. All buildings in BC, MB and QB would use electricity for heating (all high hydro power generation locations).
- All new vehicles would need to meet the California standards for emissions and switching to zero emitting by 2040.
- All appliances would have to meet the highest efficiency available by late 2008 and tighten over time.
- All landfills would capture methane for power generation and/or heating.
Now of course the Globe and Mail had to make a splash with their headline saying the West will pay. This is hardly news, actually it is common sense. Who’s economy is the most reliant on coal, oil and gas? Well that would be Alberta and Saskatchewan and BC in third place. Guess who then would pay the most under a cap and trade system? It’s hardly rocket science folks.
Another interesting fact was we would have less jobs by doing nothing. Yes meeting these targets will drop the GDP by a little (1.5% by 2020 for all of Canada), but in exchange more people will be working (+0.5% higher employment across Canada).
Now the really useful item in this report is the estimate payments to each person the government will give you to help offset your rising fuel and power bills (see the first table in the Globe article). On average it will be $109 per person, but the amount per province is very different. In Alberta it’s $501, while in SK it’s $372 while QB is $21. Basically this means your bills would be going up by at least these amounts and in all likelyhood going higher still.
That in a nut shell is the issue with CO2. In the end, anyway it goes it will cost you a lot of money. How much? Well this report gives you an idea. It won’t be a perfect estimate, but at least it’s a number to discuss. No wonder the government is dragging its feet on the issue. But the real killer is this, the longer they wait the more it’s going to cost you. Change is always expensive, rapid change is very expensive.
So what did you think of that report? Are you willing to pay that much to stop climate change?