Thursday, March 22, 2007

Belated Budget Breakdown

First and foremost, my apologies to readers for this late posting on the Canadian federal budget. The Conscious Earth has spent the last week flu ridden and away from the terminal.

On Monday, the Conservatives handed down the 2007 federal budget. To little surprise, the Tory platform continued to side step the issue of climate change despite the increasingly urgent calls of the world community, environmentalists, scientists, economists and Canadians.

The Green Budget Coalition, a representative group of 20 top environmental organizations, also panned the Conservative's lack of climate change commitment. They did however, highlight the following positive announcements for the environment:

  • $110 million for more effective protection of species at risk
  • $10 million for protected areas in the Northwest Territories
  • $225 million for conserving ecologically sensitive private lands
  • The creation of nine new marine protected areas
  • $300 million for administering the Canadian Environmental Protection Act

Also of note is that the Conservatives announced an end to federal subsidies in the tar sands (but not until 2015), and they are encouraging fuel-efficient vehicles by charging a carbon tax on new gas-guzzling automobiles and providing a rebate on highly efficient cars. Good steps, but meanwhile they're strategy on global warming still hinges on intensity based targets that allow industry greenhouse gas emissions to continue to rise into the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, Harper and company continue to ignore the ongoing threat of global warming, and the fact that it is this single issue that is gavlanizing public attention and a rising environmental awareness among Canadians.

A stronger proposal came before the weekend from Liberal Leader Stephane Dion. Dion proposes hard caps on greenhouse gases and fines for all sectors of Canadian industry in a plan custom tailored to bring Canadian greenhouse gas emissions down to responsible levels. Most importantly, it highlighted what are in fact the small costs associated with doing this - just a $1/barrel cost increase for the oil sands in particular. In a market that sees oil prices range between the $50 - $70, this is no cost to pay for protecting the Earth's climate.

That is a message voters need to remember come next election.


Alex said...

Even though it’s clear that Canadian oil sands production is ecologically harmful in general, it’s an important energy source on today’s market. I believe there is a solution that makes the extraction process safer. The method called “closed loop extraction” and it’s been successfully tested in USA for last couple of years by Nevtah/Black Sands JV. The method, while inexpensive, has 0% greenhouse gases output and 99% extraction ratio which cleans up soils from oil and leaves environment in better-than-before condition (according the company’s data).
My question is – if the method really that good, why Canadian oil sand companies wouldn’t use it to lover their ecological impact without affecting (in fact - improving) the production costs?
Is it something that can be of Stephane Dion’s direct interest?

Best regards,
Alex Savor

Atlanta Realtor said...

Alex I could not agree with you more.