Costs and Benefits

Blog, Climate, Frontier Centre

The Province’s majority NDP government has released another media  release praising its plans and actions “to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and become better able to withstand climate  change”.

Publius wonders if the Province’s taxpayers, ratepayers and residents can withstand anymore of this government and its ideologically-driven, regulation-happy and spending ways.

In its July 30th media release, the government claims that “Between 2000 and 2011, Manitoba’s population grew by 9.6%, the economy grew by 78% and greenhouse-gas emissions were reduced by seven per cent,  the biggest reduction in the west”. The inference is that the government’s climate-saving actions brought about a reduction in emissions despite population and economic growth.

What is left out in the government ‘backslapping of its self’ is that there likely are a number of reasons why emissions fell that have nothing to do with the government and its climate-change ‘actions’.

How about the closure of Tembec? What about the smelter closures of HudBay and Vale? What about the reduction or closure, except for ’emergencies’, of Hydro’s coal-fired generation? What about the recession, the effects of it yet to be fully recovered in the manufacturing, mining and exporting fields? As to the “78%” growth in the economy, how much of that is inflation, how much is due to population growth, how much is due to government and Crown agency spending and borrowing?

What new industries have come to Manitoba since 2000, and how many new additional full-time jobs can be attributed to new industry? How many firms have cut-back operations in Manitoba, or left, and how many full-time jobs were lost?

Rather than spending its ‘advertising  budget and efforts’ in congratulating itself for changes that may not be attributable to the  government’s emission reduction program (remember, this same government has advised it cannot meet its Kyoto commitment), perhaps the government should consider the cost and implications of its actions and plans.

One of its ‘latest’ plans, to “develop mandatory reporting for emissions greater than 10,000 tonnes by consulting with stakeholders to establish efficient reporting and more stringent requirements for the public sector”, could, indeed, result in major opportunity costs to the economy, taxpayers, ratepayers and residents.

Could not this ‘action’ put a ‘ring fence’ around any potential for gas-fired generation to diversify power supply in Manitoba, while allowing a deferral of Bipole  III and two new northern dams?  Too cute by half, thinks Publius!