Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Christy Clark, British Columbia's Conservative Premier, Backs Off Province's Carbon Tax (VIDEO)


Canadian leftists must want this woman dead.

At the Los Angeles Times, with the hilariously biased headline, "British Columbia was once a leader in fighting climate change. Now, it's embracing fossil fuels":

British Columbia promotes itself as “Super, Natural,” and for many years it was praised for walking that talk.

Nearly a decade ago, the province enacted North America’s first tax on carbon emissions, putting it on the cutting edge of government efforts to fight climate change. The economy grew even as emissions declined. Climate activists around the world admired the move, but so did conservatives like former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, who sought market-driven solutions.

Now, however, Canada’s West Coast is striving toward a very different kind of cutting edge: British Columbia is positioning itself to become a global leader in exporting fossil fuels, with plans to nearly triple crude oil exports through a controversial new pipeline and vastly expand production of liquefied natural gas to be sold in Asia.

And although the revenue-neutral carbon tax is still in place, the province’s current political leadership has halted the annual rate increases built into the original plan. Emissions, meanwhile, are rising again.

“They definitely have horses on either side of the wagon,” Tarika Powell, who studies fossil fuel exports for Sightline Institute, a Seattle think tank, said of the British Columbia government. “And they are going in opposite directions.”

In a province that has been influential in shaping environmental policy in Canada and beyond, the question is which horse will prevail — and one clue to the answer is expected to come next month, when Premier Christy Clark faces reelection.

Clark, who took office in 2011, leads the conservative but incongruously named BC Liberal Party. Her predecessor, Gordon Campbell, was also a member of that party, yet while Campbell pushed the carbon tax to approval in 2008 and still takes pride in it, Clark has shown little interest in climate leadership.

She instead has championed liquefied natural gas, which involves cooling natural gas into a dense liquid to make it easier and cheaper to ship.

If all 19 of the current LNG proposals in the province were built, according to Powell’s research, British Columbia would become the world’s largest LNG exporter many times over, dwarfing the current leaders, Qatar and Australia. Emissions from LNG terminals and refineries could drastically increase the level of greenhouse gas emissions within the province — and much of those emissions would be exempt from the carbon tax, according to analyses of Clark’s plans.

It was Clark who froze the carbon tax in 2012 and has refused to raise it since then, essentially ignoring the advice of a special task force she created to make recommendations. Although Clark does highlight the province’s leadership on the carbon tax, she has cited concerns among some business groups and others that increasing it would hurt the economy.

Her closest challenger next month, John Horgan of the New Democratic Party, has said he supports raising the carbon tax because “it’s the right thing to do,” and he has lashed out at Clark for accepting millions in campaign donations from fossil fuel companies and other industry groups.

Yet a New Democratic Party strategy document obtained and leaked by the BC Liberals made it clear that even Horgan’s party is wary of being cast as supporting tax increases, regardless of the benefits. It also expressed concerns that the province’s Green Party would peel away votes if it took no action.

“The BC Liberals will call it a tax increase — and they’ll holler from the rooftops in rural B.C.,” the leaked document said.

“We must holler back with: ‘Our plan puts more money in the pocket for a majority of B.C. families. Hers doesn’t. Our plan actually accomplishes the goals of a carbon tax — reducing carbon pollution. Hers doesn’t. Our plan creates good jobs that last in a more sustainable economy with more opportunities for the future. Hers doesn’t.’”

The political sensitivity over the carbon tax within the province is striking given its influence outside it...
Keep reading.