Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Far short of serious

The National Post reports on the Cons' sad attempt to earn positive environmental press without offering anything that hasn't already been announced or implemented:
The Conservative government will attempt to convince Canadians it is serious about fighting global warming by making a flurry of policy announcements on the environment in the next few weeks, including short term targets for greenhouse gas emissions and the repackaging of a number of Liberal initiatives that were cancelled when the Tories took office.

Sources said the government will soon announce a short-term target of 2015, by which time companies will be required to reduce the amount of energy they use to produce every barrel of oil or megawatt of electricity...

The short-term target announcement is seen as crucial to turning around perceptions that the Conservatives are weak on the environment. The Clean Air Act announced in October by former environment minister Rona Ambrose was widely panned because the only target date it mentioned was 2050. Ms. Ambrose, who has since been replaced by John Baird, said at the time that short- and medium-term targets would follow in the new year.
Now, it's bad enough that most of the Cons' plans amount to nothing more than re-implementing programs which they were responsible for cutting last year. But the balance of the announcements figure to be even more insulting to the intelligence of Canadian voters, consisting of targets which are (a) utterly useless in their focus on "intensity" rather than real emission reductions, and (b) a reiteration of precisely the same plan which was almost universally panned last fall.

From the Cons' existing Notice of Intent to Regulate (emphasis added):
Short-term (2010–2015)...

For GHGs: the Government intends to adopt a target-setting approach based on emissions intensity...
In sum, while the Cons may have changed their face and rhetorical approach on the environment since John Baird took over as the responsible minister, it doesn't look like their actual policy has improved in the slightest. Instead, they're apparently trying only to take the focus off their much-ridiculed long-term targets, and instead pretending that their scheme will result in anything getting done on a reasonable timeline.

Which isn't to say that there's no chance of anything getting done over the current session of Parliament. After all, it's not too late for the Cons to work with one or more other parties to actually put together an effective emissions-reduction regime, or for the opposition parties to agree on a plan to put the Cons' to shame.

But it should be clear that nobody's going to be interested in lending support (either in Parliament or in the media) to the Cons' existing inaction plan. And if the Cons really think their sole problem on the environment is one of how their flawed policies are perceived, then it shouldn't take long for electoral reality to prove otherwise.

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