Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/5/2009 (4641 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A perfect example is the B.C. election campaign, which is now sputtering to a close (voting day is Tuesday). The NDP started off with a promise to "axe the tax" -- a reference to rolling back the carbon tax introduced by the Liberals.
On the surface it sounded good. No one likes taxes. Unfortunately, it led to a kerfuffle over climate change policy, with the NDP appearing to be looking for cheap votes at the expense of the environment.
Now the NDP is backpedalling, with hardly a word about the carbon tax, which means hardly a word about the party's climate change policy. They actually do a have a policy. It's just that they're afraid to talk about it.
In fact, what we have in B.C. is a classic difference of opinion over the merits of a carbon tax versus a cap-and-trade system. This debate is being carried out in many parts of the world. Some say that if you make people pay for their emissions, they will cut back. But will they cut back enough?
Others support cap and trade. In this system, plants with emissions higher than a cap set by the government must pay plants with emissions below the cap.
You'd never know it, but the NDP not only supports this idea, but would set a hard cap on emissions.
It could be argued that this policy is actually more effective, because it would force plants to shoot for aggressive goals they might not otherwise have attained.
Much more could be said, and it would have been fascinating to see a real debate between carbon tax on one side and cap-and-trade on the other.
And, this type of debate is not just academic. Hardly a day goes by without another warning about climate change.
For example, two new scientific studies say that if the world is going to limit global warming to just a few degrees, carbon emissions will have to be slashed much more than now being discussed.
President Barack Obama has said he wants to cut U.S. emissions by 80 per cent, but the author of one of the studies says even that wouldn't be enough to limit warming.
Just last month, an Antarctic ice shelf almost the size of New York City broke into icebergs -- an event widely blamed on global warming.
There is no doubt that climate change is an important issue. But in B.C., it has sunk out of sight into the quagmire of politics.
All we can suggest is that you visit the Liberal and NDP websites to get an idea of their policies, and make up your own mind.
-- The Canadian Press