Alberta Environment Minister Kyle Fawcett seems to be warming to the idea of carbon offset markets — where greenhouse gas emitters buy credits from other sources to compensate for their own output — after returning from the recent United Nations-sponsored climate change conference in Peru.
It’s tempting to say Fawcett should stay home in future, if this is the sort of nonsense he’s going to come back with. Why would an Alberta-based corporation entertain paying a company in some other part of the country money merely for the supposed sin of being profitable, or being engaged in an inherently carbon-intensive industry?
Funny how you don’t hear about such trading methods for other controversial goods. No one ever talks about giving Albertans credit for the number of seals we don’t kill, or sending back some cash because we don’t export asbestos, like Quebec did, to Third World countries, despite incontrovertible proof the stuff causes cancer.
So why would Alberta consider being part of a so-called carbon trading system? Presumably a successful oilsands company would purchase credits from a manufacturer somewhere else in the country that had fallen on hard times and was therefore not emitting the same amount of greenhouses gases as it used to. How on earth does that improve the environment?
We don’t need to create more means of harming our economic competitiveness. Alberta already contributes billions of dollars to other provinces through the existing equalization program, so instead of musing about carbon trading, Fawcett should heed the advice of Alberta’s Liberal leader.
“Alberta needs to be a leader in the environment … they’re expecting others to be leaders and we’ll just pay them money for their leadership,” says Raj Sherman.
Fawcett, given his critical portfolio, should realize that embracing renewable sources of energy makes a lot more sense than simply sending a cheque across the border.
(Full comment by David Marsden is in Calgary Herald)