Many progressive types have been attacking DeSmogBlog for its stance in the BC election. The folks over at DeSmogBlog have come out strongly against the proposed BC NDP GHG reduction plan (as have I and many others). But is this really a shock to anyone?
But if carbon taxes are popular among economists, they are widely regarded as toxic among voters – as any new tax is likely to be. That’s why the B.C. election is so important. For people outside this jurisdiction, it is being seen not so much as a minor election in a distant place, but as a referendum on carbon taxes. The assumption here is that if the tax fails here, it won’t be worth trying anywhere in North America…
There are, of course, other issues in this election, but for the DeSmogBlog there is only one: the carbon tax. Premier Gordon Campbell took a significant political risk in implementing this, the most progressive climate change legislation in any jurisdiction in North America. And he stuck to his guns, even when the politically expedient thing would have been to organize a timely retreat.
For that leadership, he deserves the support that he has been receiving recently from Canadian environmental groups. Climate-conscious voters who are uncomfortable with the remainder of his centre-right platform also have the option of voting for the Green Party, which has also taken an intelligent and responsible position in support of the carbon tax. (In fact, the Greens have gone the extra step of pointing out that, even on its rising trajectory, the tax is not yet high enough to be truly effective.)
I was invited to Washington, D.C. early this year by the U.S. Carbon Tax Centre. They had arranged a Capitol Hill briefing on this issue and they were interested in the Canadian experience. They were concerned, firstly, that a federal party (also called Liberal, but unrelated) had recently proposed a carbon tax and lost the subsequent election and, secondly, that the BC government – the only one to have passed such a tax – now seemed to be in danger.
So, I am convinced: politicians and policymakers from across North America are watching this election – which means that we at the DeSmogBlog will continue to give it attention, and to criticize those who, for whatever reasons, are campaigning against this worthy – necessary – policy.
For the record, this puts us in an interesting and unfamiliar position. As long-time and trenchant critics of the climate change (non-)policies of the Bush Republicans in the U.S. and the Harper Conservatives in Canada, we at the DeSmogBlog frequently have been castigated as somehow “left-wing” – as if caring about the environment we leave to our children is the stuff of communist conspiracy. Since the start of the election, however, the NDP’s defenders have started calling us “right-wing” – in one reference, someone even called us “neo-cons.”
This smacks of old-fashioned, partisan politics where you set up and attack labels because you don’t want to discuss the issue…
This dispute is all about climate change. Specifically, it’s about the carbon tax. If the New Democrats want the DeSmogBlog’s support, they can change policies. As long as they attack the carbon tax and continue in what seems to be a transparent attempt to take advantage of public confusion on the issue, they can call us whatever names they please, but they can count on our continued opposition.
The BC Liberal carbon tax, while still to small to be effective, put a price on the large majority of BC emissions. That is something that no other GHG reduction policy anywhere in North America has accomplished. By comparison the plan proposed by the BC NDP captures less than a third of BC’s emissions.
Given this, and the fact that the BC election is being viewed as a carbon tax litmus test, across North America, is it any wonder that DeSmogBlog has come out in favour of the BC Liberal’s plan and against the plan proposed by the BC NDP?
In taking this stance, the only thing DeSmogBlog is doing is sticking to their principles. And for that I applaud them.