Federal government offers odd policies to address ‘existential crisis’

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Appeared in the Toronto Sun, June 1, 2022
Federal government offers odd policies to address ‘existential crisis’

Manmade climate change, the Trudeau government says, is an existential crisis that threatens to wipe out humanity unless governments aggressively decarbonize economies to limit the rise in global temperatures. The evidence, fortunately, does not support such catastrophic predictions. But suppose it did. We would expect Ottawa to have a credible plan to reduce carbon emissions as efficiently as possible.

However, if you read the Ottawa’s plan to reduce carbon emissions, it’s no such thing. It begins with the predictable alarmism: “The science is clear” that “reducing carbon pollution to net zero by 2050 is our best chance of keeping the planet livable.” This is followed by a plethora of uneconomic policies accompanied by a healthy dose of woke nonsense.

The emissions reduction plan says, in support of the government’s carbon tax, that “putting a price on pollution is widely recognized as the most efficient means to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.” Fair enough, but the five pages on carbon taxes precede around 80 pages of expensive spending, regulatory and subsidy programs. In all, the plan introduces $9.1 billion in spending on top of the vast sums already committed by the federal government, plus significant additional costs of regulation.

But again, if climate change is really the existential crisis the government claims, why does it propose to use many billions of dollars’ worth of policies that, by its own admission, are unnecessarily inefficient? You’d think that if the government really thought climate change threatened human extinction, it would move as efficiently as possible. It would certainly not make, as the foundation for its plans, 80 pages worth of inefficient policies.

The government would also, if it thought there was a real crisis, probably focus on staving off the crisis instead of infusing its plan with collateral woke objectives such as “enabling Indigenous climate leadership” and “mainstreaming gender-based analysis” (GBA) in climate policy. “An intersectional GBA Plus,” the government says, “is particularly relevant in understanding how climate change overlaps with a range of social issues such as racial or ethnic marginalization, gendered discrimination, urban/rural divides and poverty that all shape climate justice.”

The emissions plan goes on to note that “certain populations are vastly underrepresented in climate policy.” So what? Does the effectiveness of climate policy depend on the race or gender of the person proposing it? Especially if climate change is an existential crisis, as we are told, then the race or gender of the people working to stop it is not merely a minor consideration but surely a completely irrelevant one.

Similarly, if the planet is really going to be unlivable, it will be unlivable for both men and women. So if, for example, we need cleaner technology to save the planet then we should get on with developing that technology regardless of what the government’s intersectional gender analysis has to say about the gender balance of clean technology jobs.

The government can’t have it both ways. If climate change is an existential crisis, it must tackle it as efficiently as possible, without considering irrelevant social justice concerns about with race and gender. Or if its climate program remains infused with billions in income redistribution and all this woke stuff, we’ll have to conclude that the government doesn’t really see climate change as an existential crisis. Which is it?

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