Moe ducking talk of global warming, GHG reduction for political gain – Regina Leader-Post
Moe’s only strategy is the political one of keeping together climate change deniers, skeptics and carbon tax opponents under one big tent.
Perhaps Premier Scott Moe does believe in the scientifically proven fact that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the cause of manmade climate change more than he lets on when he’s in front of the anti-carbon crowd he and his Saskatchewan Party government are courting.
It’s hard to say, but he sure goes out of his way to suggest any of us should not be worried about pesky environmental issues.
What is clear, however, is Moe and other conservative politicians are happy to widen the fault line between those who accept that there needs to be a price paid to address GHG emissions and those who believe that we shouldn’t have to pay anything.
To Moe and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer the politics around this are far more critical. There is no question about which side of this ever widening and deepening chasm they stand on.
Any doubt of this was erased Thursday with Moe’s presence at the Rally Against the Carbon Tax protest and truck convoy. And his pronouncement on manmade global warming in front of the friendly anti-carbon-tax protesters certainly didn’t clarify what — if anything — he sees as an alternative to the federal Liberal government’s carbon price that added four cents per litre at the pumps last week.
He did say something, but what he said won’t cause anyone to think Saskatchewan’s former environment minister is now an environmental warrior.
“In Saskatchewan, we accept that climate change is happening and we even accept that humans are contributing to that,” Moe told the crowd. “What we don’t accept is that a carbon tax is in any way an effective way to actually deal with that.”
Moe was virtually goaded into saying something — anything — about global warming by reporters’ questions earlier in the week on whether he would mention manmade climate change. He chose to say very little and said it very quickly so as to avoid so much as a murmur, grumble or boo from this frenzied anti-carbon-tax crowd.
And quickly as he could, he pivoted back to the federal Liberal government carbon tax he says is not an “effective way” to deal with GHGs. About this, Moe is probably right.
Taxing families four cents a litre on their gas and then giving them back hundreds of dollars in income tax rebates seems a bizarre way to convince them to trade in the family SUV.
But if not this carbon price, then what is the solution?
The Saskatchewan government’s Prairie Resilience? Yes, it has good elements related to adjusting to climate change. But it was largely written as a response to avoiding paying a GHG price. (Even at that, it still commits to “output-based performance standards” applied to more than 40 Saskatchewan industrial facilities — essentially, a carbon pricing model, albeit one applied to only 11 per cent of the industry.)
Clearly, Moe’s only strategy is the political one of keeping together climate change deniers, skeptics and carbon tax opponents under one big tent where everyone can feel guilt free about ignoring the science of GHG emissions and united under the notion that we all don’t like paying more taxes.
So Thursday — and most of last week — Moe was all about placating any guilt, by repeatedly noting things like “farmers are some of the strongest environmentalists in the world”, or that we aren’t getting credit for our carbon sinks, or that the 700 or so diesel trucks that drove in for the rally are far more efficient and less polluting than 10 or 20 years ago.
This may all be somewhat true, but none of this addresses the reality that GHGs in Saskatchewan are increasing. Nor is helpful to say we “even accept that humans are contributing” to global warming when you aren’t doing much about it.
Recent reports suggest significant local impact. Last week’s Canada’s Changing Climate report predicted this country will be harder hit because a warming arctic will have the domino effect of heating up the rest of our vast land mass.
Yet, seemingly for political reasons, Moe isn’t talking about that.
Mandryk is the political columnist for the Leader-Post.