All right, British Columbia. Kick back. Relax. Put your feet up. Time for the rest of Canada to carry the load. Family time. Quality time. You time.
There, doesn't that feel better? No? Well, have another cocktail, pat yourselves on the back, dream of the LNG riches to come and take a break while the rest of the hoser slackers from sea to sea to sea catch up.
I'm pretty certain I'll go to my grave believing women are smarter than men. A large part of me still believes we should just turn the reins of power over to women, build a global sperm bank and set a large part of the male population adrift in leaky rowboats on the world's oceans.
But then... then... there are XX leaders like our very own Premier Ms. Christy Clark, women who have risen to the top echelon of power, capable women who put the boot — or heel — to my long-held belief that men should bow out and let women run things. Women who lead as foolishly, as short-sightedly, as greedily and as power mad as your run of the mill XY pol. Women who have forgotten the importance of making children do the right things, no matter how much they fuss or how blue their tantrums: eat their vegetables, clean their rooms, pick up after themselves and learn the higher cognitive skill of delaying gratification. In other words, women so enamoured of power they'll pander to the very people who selected them to make unpopular decisions when the need arises.
It is perhaps only a coincidence Ms. Clark's Climate InAction Plan — dubbed disingenuously Climate Leadership Plan — is as tepid, ineffective and cynical as it is, and the next provincial election is only nine months away. Then again, perhaps it isn't so coincidental; I'm sure she remembers how near to political exile she came last time around, squeaking out a win only because of the comical implosion of Adrian Dix.
It should have been so easy for Christy to be a political rockstar. After all, she followed Gordon Campbell, weighed down as he was by all his miscues, his DWI, his duplicitous and covert introduction of the Harmonized Sales Tax and his general smarminess. It would have been a cakewalk to come off as a reasoned, transparent leader.
Instead, she's governed as though she was raised in a smoky back room. She managed to make Mr. Campbell look like an environmental crusader. It was, after all, his government which, and I'm not making this up, pretty much led the Western world in crafting effective climate mitigating policies, putting B.C. in the enviable position of being the poster child for farsighted climate action. His marquee act was the province's carbon tax, introduced at $10 per tonne in 2008 and scheduled to rise thereafter in $10 increments. He also banned both coal and Ms. Clark's coveted natural gas as fuel for electricity generation, moving B.C., already a leader in clean hydro, further ahead of the pack.
But it was Christy who froze the carbon tax at $30 per tonne, it's 2012 level, and in her Climate InAction Plan refuses to raise it further until "the rest of Canada catches up." After all, why lead when you can preen?
"We are continuing to lead the way in reducing emissions and creating jobs with the release of our new Climate Leadership Plan," said the premier in her self-serving press release. She also talked about the plan leading to the creation of 66,000 jobs over the next 10 years and reducing net annual greenhouse gas emissions by up to 25 million tonnes "below current forecasts" by 2050.
Read carefully: there is nothing in that paragraph anyone who has figured out children don't come from cabbage patches can possibly believe. Ms. Clark herself says B.C. will tread water on further carbon-tax increases until the rest of Canada catches up, which means never if one can believe the Premier of Saskatchewan, who just bought Waylon Jennings' 1973 Cadillac Eldorado, as fuel-efficient a land yacht as ever sailed the Interstate highways, and who has vehemently opposed any carbon tax in his province.
As for the 66,000 imaginary jobs, no specific mention how many of them might come from the LNG sector fewer and fewer players seem to be interested in developing.
Our own MLA, Jordan Sturdy, Parliamentary Secretary for Energy Literacy and the Environment, added, "Through our new Climate Leadership Plan, we are taking strong actions across key areas in our province where emissions are created."
But a close look at the InAction Plan reveals the only real emission-rich target is vehicle tailpipes. And even that action — incentives to encourage companies to convert their fleets to natural gas and point-of-sale incentives to convince people to buy zero-emission vehicles — is tepid by comparison to a continuously escalating carbon tax. And let's be honest, getting companies and transit to switch from gasoline and diesel to natural gas is a bit like choosing to hit your other thumb with a slightly smaller hammer.
Aside from playing indolent while the rest of Canada catches up, the InAction Plan, as stated, encourages conversion to natural gas, continues to shill for LNG and — quelle surprise — kicks Christy's trumpeted GHG reduction targets down the road a couple of decades. Instead of shooting for a 33-per-cent reduction below 2007 levels by 2020, a goal the government's own Climate Leadership Team concluded wouldn't be met when they issued their report last fall, the plan is to aim for an 80-per-cent reduction below 2007 levels by 2050, a point safely — from a political standpoint — distant.
More than this we cannot do, notwithstanding the Climate Leadership Team recommended doing more than this would be a good idea, climate changewise. Not possible, said Christy. After all, trifles like, oh, the environment have to be weighed against the economy and her favourite conceit: family affordability. Doing something as effective as raising the carbon tax would be immediately seen at gas pumps around the province. People would complain. Families would be hurt. Votes would be lost. Which of those results do you think Christy is most concerned about?
Mark Jaccard, Simon Fraser University professor of sustainable energy, lumped Christy's Climate InAction Plan in the category of "cynically ineffective." In an insightful op-ed piece last weekend in The Globe and Mail — "B.C.'s climate plan reaches Olympian heights of political cynicism" — he explained why he refused to serve on a panel consulting the government on their plan and concluded by saying, "If there were an Olympic event for political cynicism on the climate challenge, B.C.'s new climate plan would be a strong contender for the gold medal."
Go Christy: We're No. 1!