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Economy

Net Zero Part 4 – IPCC Experts Say Doing Nothing Would Be Less Harmful

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8 minute read

Do you ever feel good when someone won’t tell you how much something costs – something you have to pay for?

No? Me neither.

But, when it comes to the Canadian government’s climate change agenda, and in particular the “Net Zero by 2050” strategy, that is where we are.

It is being forced on Canadians, who will end up paying the bill, but we are not being told what the price is today, or what the price will be tomorrow.

I will continue to dig to find out more. But in the meantime, let me share what an expert on the climate file says about what “doing nothing” would cost.

Yes, doing nothing.

But don’t take my word for it.

President Obama was (and remains) quite outspoken as an alarmist on the issue of climate change, talking often about the impending crisis.

But the former Democratic President’s senior Department of Energy official, Stephen Koonin, has just come out with a most sensible and distinctly non-alarmist perspective. His recently published book, Unsettled, suggests the alarmist climate change narrative is unfounded.

Stephen Koonin served as Undersecretary of Energy in former U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration. A PhD Physicist, he is a smart guy.

Referencing materials from the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – an organization that is widely viewed by governments and media as the single most important source for information on climate change – Koonin demonstrates that the science of climate change is anything but settled, and that we are not in, nor should we anticipate, a crisis.

In fact, despite decades of apocalyptic warnings there is in fact remarkably little knowledge of what might happen. Over the last 5 decades of apocalyptic warning, life on earth has dramatically improved as our management of countless environmental challenges has improved.

What the evidence really shows is that as the global economy improves, our ability to deal with whatever mother nature throws at us improves. On that point, Koonin draws attention to what the IPCC experts say about the possible economic impacts of possible climate change-induced temperature changes.

Koonin notes that, according to the IPCC, a temperature increase of 3 degrees centigrade by 2100 – which some scientists say might happen – might create some negative environmental effects, which in turn would cause an estimated 3% hit to the economy in 2100.

But even as it makes these claims, the IPCC further predicts that the economy, in 2100, will be several times the size of the economy today (unless, of course, we interfere with it as the Net Zero by 2050 crowd wants us to do).  In other words, a strategy of doing nothing may or may not mean a temperature increase, the effects of which if bad, are expected to represent a small economic hit to the economy, but that economy will be much, much larger.

In Koonin’s words, this “translates to a decrease in the annual growth rate by an average of 3 percent divided by 80, or about 0.04 percent per year. The IPCC scenarios…assume an average global annual growth rate of about 2 percent through 2100; the climate impact would then be a 0.04 percent decrease in that 2 percent growth rate, for a resulting growth rate of 1.96 percent. In other words, the U.N. report says that the economic impact of human-induced climate change is negligible, at most a bump in the road.”

So this doesn’t sound like a crisis to me. It sounds like a very modest reduction in extraordinary economic growth. So from extraordinary economic growth to slightly less extraordinary economic growth.

Why do I draw attention to this?

Because Canada is pursuing a Net Zero by 2050 target with a whole bunch of policies that will kill economic growth.

The IPCC predicts significant global economic growth without all the things Trudeau and other Net Zero by 2050 advocates are pursuing – massive carbon taxes, additional carbon taxes called clean fuel standards (CFS), building code changes that will make a new home unaffordable, huge subsidies for pet projects, etc. In other words, the IPCC predicts growth without crazy and wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars that will hurt citizens.

So why are we allowing Trudeau and co to pursue these things?

We don’t know the full costs of Net Zero by 2050, but every signal we have is that it is absurdly expensive. AND (thank you Stephen Koonin for making this explicitly clear) the International Panel on Climate Change says ignoring the Net Zero by 2050 target and doing nothing will mean a much bigger economy.

Prime Minister Trudeau and the activists won’t tell you that.

Nor will they acknowledge what the IPCC actually says.

Let’s all applaud Stephen Koonin for trying to do so.

Green activists are driving a radical agenda screaming at us that the science is settled. As courageous scientists like Stephen Koonin note, science is never settled and to say it is settled is irresponsible. The activists say we have to radically change our economy, but don’t tell us how much that will cost – but the IPCC tells us doing absolutely nothing would result in only slightly less economic growth than we would otherwise have.

Governments are spending massive sums of your money on Net Zero by 2050.

Corporate interests commit to this radical agenda and hide behind rhetoric of doing the right thing, while they also seek out government subsidies (which taxpayers will pay for) to meet their absurd Net Zero by 2050 commitments.

All of us, as consumers, will foot the bill.

And none of it needs to happen.

 

Click here for more articles from Dan McTeague of Canadians for Affordable energy

Dan McTeague | President, Canadians for Affordable Energy

 

An 18 year veteran of the House of Commons, Dan is widely known in both official languages for his tireless work on energy pricing and saving Canadians money through accurate price forecasts. His Parliamentary initiatives, aimed at helping Canadians cope with affordable energy costs, led to providing Canadians heating fuel rebates on at least two occasions.

Widely sought for his extensive work and knowledge in energy pricing, Dan continues to provide valuable insights to North American media and policy makers. He brings three decades of experience and proven efforts on behalf of consumers in both the private and public spheres. Dan is committed to improving energy affordability for Canadians and promoting the benefits we all share in having a strong and robust energy sector.

An 18 year veteran of the House of Commons, Dan is widely known in both official languages for his tireless work on energy pricing and saving Canadians money through accurate price forecasts. His Parliamentary initiatives, aimed at helping Canadians cope with affordable energy costs, led to providing Canadians heating fuel rebates on at least two occasions. Widely sought for his extensive work and knowledge in energy pricing, Dan continues to provide valuable insights to North American media and policy makers. He brings three decades of experience and proven efforts on behalf of consumers in both the private and public spheres. Dan is committed to improving energy affordability for Canadians and promoting the benefits we all share in having a strong and robust energy sector.

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Business

Federal departments failed to spend $38B on promised programs, services last year

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By Lee Berthiaume in Ottawa

The federal government failed to spend tens of billions of dollars in the last fiscal year on promised programs and services, including new military equipment, affordable housing and support for veterans.

Federal departments are blaming a variety of factors for letting a record total of $38 billion in funding lapse in 2021-22, including delays and disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

They also say much of the money remains available for future years.

The unspent funds also played a big part in the Liberal government posting a smaller-than-expected deficit in the year ending March 31, 2022.

Canada rang up a $90.2 billion deficit — $23.6 billion less than had been projected in the budget.

The unprecedented amount of lapsed funding, much of which has been returned to the federal treasury, has one observer suggesting it is a sign of long-standing challenges delivering on big federal projects for the country.

The amount of lapsed funds across government is spelled out in the most recent iteration of the public accounts, a report on federal revenues and spending by every department and agency tabled in the House of Commons every year.

The $38.2 billion that was reported as lapsed in the last fiscal year marks a new record over the previous year, which was $32.2 billion. That was a dramatic increase over the previous record of $14 billion in 2019-20.

That compares to around $10 billion about a decade ago, when Stephen Harper’s Conservative government was accused by political opponents and experts alike of using large lapses to make cuts by stealth.

Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada reported the largest lapses of all departments and agencies, with nearly $11.2 billion of their combined $28.2 billion budgets going unspent.

Much of that had been set aside for COVID-19 initiatives that were not needed, said Health Canada spokeswoman Tammy Jarbeau. Those include vaccines, personal protective equipment and rapid tests.

“Both Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada have rigorous internal financial management controls designed to prevent, detect and minimize errors and financial losses, and ensure the funding is spent in the best interests of Canadians,” she wrote in an email.

The pandemic figured in the responses and explanations from many other departments and agencies, with many blaming COVID-19 for delays.

One of them was the Defence Department, which reported a lapse of $2.5 billion in the last fiscal year. Much of the money wasn’t spent due to delays in the delivery of new military equipment such as Arctic patrol vessels and upgrades to the Army’s armoured vehicles.

There were also delays on major infrastructure projects for the military, according to Defence Department spokeswoman Jessica Lamirande. Those include upgrading and rebuilding two jetties for the Navy in Esquimalt, B.C., and a new armoury in New Brunswick.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on many of our business lines,” Lamirande said.

“The impacts of the pandemic on supply chain and industry capacity are causing manufacturing backlogs and delays.”

Lamirande added most of the unspent funds are expected to be available in future years through a process called reprofiling, in which schedules are revised to reflect planned spending in future years due to those delays.

Former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page said the government’s handling of lapsed funding now is “a little more relaxed” than in previous years, when unspent funds were not reprofiled and even used to justify budget cuts in Ottawa.

But defence analyst David Perry of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute said the Defence Department’s lapse, which has been steadily growing in recent years, is a symptom of Ottawa’s continued difficulties purchasing new military equipment.

“If we’re not getting those procurement projects through, we’re not getting new equipment into the inventory, so we don’t actually have the gear for our troops,” he said, noting many of the delayed projects were launched under the Harper government.

Perry also noted the current rate of inflation, which is already naturally higher for military equipment and the defence sector than most other parts of the economy. Not spending money now means Canada will have to pay more for the same gear and services later, he said.

The Infrastructure Department, the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. and the Fisheries Department, which includes the Canadian Coast Guard, also reported delays with different capital projects, including on affordable housing and broadband internet.

“Due to the unprecedented circumstances over the last few years such as the COVID-19 pandemic, disbursing funds to proponents for many projects are expected to and will take longer,” CMHC spokeswoman Claudie Chabot said in an email.

Perry suggested a bigger problem.

“The government of Canada’s ability to actually deliver services to the public, especially when it comes to large projects, large capital projects, be it for equipment or infrastructure or IT projects, is struggling across the board,” he said.

Other federal entities with large lapses included Indigenous Services Canada, which failed to spend $3.4 billion, and Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, which reported a lapse of $2.2 billion.

Spokesman Vincent Gauthier attributed much of the latter lapse to “the timing and progress of negotiations for specific claims and childhood litigations,” adding that funds will available “in some instances” in future years.

Gauthier did not say why Indigenous Services, which is responsible for delivering federal services to First Nations, Inuit and Métis, failed to spend billions of dollars. He did say most of the money had been reprofiled “so that it will be available when recipients need it.”

Veterans Affairs Canada also reported a nearly $1 billion lapse last year, which the department blamed on fewer ill and injured ex-soldiers applying for assistance than expected.

However, critics have described earlier lapsed funding as evidence of the challenges many veterans face in accessing benefits and services. In 2014, the Royal Canadian Legion demanded the Harper government explain why $1.1 billion went unspent over seven years.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 30, 2023.

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Alberta

Alberta budget set for Feb. 28, with focus on funding for health, school growth

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By Dean Bennett in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews says the United Conservative Party government’s 2023 budget will be delivered on Feb. 28, the first day of the spring legislature sitting.

Toews said Friday it will focus on investing in health care and school enrolment growth.

It’s expected to be the final budget before voters go to the polls for a scheduled May 29 general election.

Alberta’s fortunes, powered mainly by energy revenues and further diversification of its economy, have been on the upswing since the global economy began rebounding from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Last fall, Toews announced the current budget year, which finishes at the end of March, is expected to record a $12.3-billion surplus.

That surplus comes even with $2.8 billion being set aside over the next three years to cover inflation-fighting programs and payouts to shield Albertans — particularly families, seniors and the vulnerable — from higher costs.

Toews said while energy prices remain volatile, the outlook is for them to stay strong.

“This budget will reflect the fact that health care is a priority, that health care capacity is a priority, ” said Toews in an interview.

“Alberta is leading the nation on net-inflow migration,” he added.

“Our population is growing. Our enrolment in our K-12 education system is growing, and the budget will reflect that good news story with additional enrolment growth.”

One outstanding question after the budget will be whether Toews will run again in the May vote.

He is a first-term UCP member representing Grande Prairie-Wapiti.

Toews declined to say whether he has made a decision.

“I’ll have more to say on that one later,” he said, “I’m focused on preparing the budget.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2023.

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