Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The dishonesty continues at DeSmogBlog.

This time, Richard Littlemore gets in on the act. Littlemore reproduces, verbatim, the BC Liberals' account of the "Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act", and quotes a David Suzuki Foundation representative. Nowhere do we see any discussion of why the BC NDP voted against the act; instead it is asserted that they opportunistically opposed the act in order to put the same ideas forward during their election campaign.

Upon reading the Hansard link that Littlemore provides, what does Shane Simpson (BC NDP MLA) say in defense of the NDP position?
... But, at this point, they're moving ahead with bringing this bill forward, and they're going to pass this bill through without dealing with the issues and the concerns raised by the Information and Privacy Commissioner. ...

It is that cap-and-trade, a system that is important and is going to hopefully be a critical piece of our strategy related to climate change, that is uncertain in terms of its framework and uncertain in terms of what it actually means. All of the substantive questions will be answered within regulation, not within the bill itself and not open to legislative scrutiny or oversight. That's a big concern.

We have this situation around the blank cheque to cabinet. As I pointed out earlier, there are four or five critical questions around a cap-and-trade system. I'm hoping that when we get to committee stage and start to delve into some of these discussions, the minister might have an answer or two — we'll see — around the questions related to auction versus allocation, the issue around thresholds and scope, the parameters related to offsets, the monitoring in regulatory issues and the questions of penalties. ...
And those are just a few of the problems with the bill that Simpson outlines.

In other words, rather than -- as Littlemore characterizes it -- the BC NDP opposing cap-and-trade and then supporting it, the BC NDP opposed a particular bill because of problems with that bill. And said explicitly they thought cap-and-trade was important. But you wouldn't know that from anything he said.

For reference, honest commentary looks something like this.


Mark Francis said...

In fairness, cap and trade is really going to be determined based upon negotiations with the Americans. Regional cap and trade regimes are temporary. A lot of regs are needed for cap and trade as opposed to specific statute details, as the EU experience is that cap and trade system need a lot of continuous tweaking to have a chance to even work.

I'm not suggesting the BC Liberals aren't playing games here, mind you. I'm just defending avoiding the inflexibility of favouring statute of regulations.

ADHR said...

I think you're right that there needs to be a flexible structure to allow the scheme to adapt itself. After all, that's supposed to be a benefit of cap-and-trade over a carbon tax: that it responds to changes in the market.

That said, the "blank cheque" remark is quite worrying. There should be some oversight of a regulatory body by the legislature -- and it shouldn't be hard to write a statute that would ensure that.