GOLDSTEIN: Freeland’s absurd ‘climate action’ claim insures against high energy prices


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Treasury Secretary Chrystia Freeland was insensitive when she said Canada’s high gasoline prices are a reminder “why climate action is so important and why we as a country need to work even harder and move even faster toward a green economy.”

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But it’s not the worst thing she said

The worst thing she said was that climate action “is insurance against higher energy prices”.

That’s just not true.

The latest climate action from the Trudeau government will introduce a clean fuel standard next year.

According to an impact analysis released by the federal government itself last week, that will increase the price of gasoline by six to 13 cents per liter and the price of diesel by seven to 16 cents per liter by 2030.

Taking into account direct and indirect costs, the impact analysis estimates that this will cost the average Canadian household between $132 and $301 annually by 2030, with an average of $220.

It also says the clean fuel standard will increase energy poverty and be felt disproportionately by low and middle income Canadians, fixed income seniors, single mothers, rural Canadians, Canadians working in the oil and gas sector and Canadians living in Atlantic Canada who spend a higher proportion of their income on transportation compared to other provinces.

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In March, the parliamentary budget official said that even with the cuts to Trudeau’s carbon tax, which will be sent to Canadians in Ontario, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba from July 15, most households (60%) in those provinces will end up worse off financially. .

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PBO Yves Giroux estimated that the average Ontario household will be $360 worse off this year, rising annually to $1,461 by 2030; the average Alberta household is deteriorating by $671 this year, rising annually to $2,282 by 2030; the average household in Saskatchewan is deteriorating by $390 this year, rising annually to $1,464 by 2030 and the average household in Manitoba is deteriorating by $299 this year, rising annually to $1,145 by 2030.

The Trudeau government claims that 80% of households will be financially better off because of rebates, but did not take into account the negative impact of the carbon tax on the economy.

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Giroux calculates it will cut Canada’s real GDP growth by 0.4% annually this year, rising to 1.3% by 2030.

He predicts that labor income will fall by 0.5% this year, rising to 2.3% by 2030.

Investment income will fall by 2.6% this year and will rise to 3.6% in 2030.

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The purpose of carbon pricing is to increase the cost of using fossil fuels so that people switch to low-carbon alternatives.

But many of the alternatives are not prime time ready.

High gasoline prices are meant to discourage people from driving, but for many Canadians, public transportation is not an option because of where they live, or they need their vehicle to earn a living, or electric vehicles are impractical and out of their price range, even with grants.

When the previous Liberal government in Ontario replaced coal-fired electricity with nuclear and natural gas, it doubled the price of electricity in a decade, in part because it wasted billions of dollars on wind and solar energy, which can’t supply baseload power on demand to the grid.

Freeland’s claim that climate action is insurance against higher energy prices is based in part on the magical idea that wind and sunshine are free. The problem is that wind and solar are not.

lgoldstein@postmedia.com

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