Friday, August 3, 2018

GWPF Newsletter: Canada Scales Back Carbon-Tax Plans

Trump’s Tax Cuts, Tariffs Force Trudeau To Retreat On Carbon Tax

In this newsletter:

1) Canada Scales Back Carbon-Tax Plans
The Wall Street Journal, 2 August 2018
2) Trump’s Tax Cuts, Tariffs Force Trudeau To Retreat On Carbon Tax
Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, 1 August 2018

3) Canadian Tories: Trudeau’s Carbon Tax ‘Climbdown’ Shows ‘We Have Been Right All Along’
Huffington Post Canada, 1 August 2018 
4) Mark Bonokoski: Canadians Don’t Want Liberals’ Carbon Tax Forced On Them
Toronto Sun, 26 July 2018 
5) Case Dismissed: Federal Judge Puts Final Nail In The Coffin Of California’s ‘Global Warming Lawsuit’
Watts Up With That? 31 July 2018 
6) Bombshell: New York Times Debunks #Exxonknew Climate Campaign
Energy Indepth, 1 August 2018 
7) And Finally: The Sun Sets On UK Solar Energy
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 1 August 2018 

Full details:

1) Canada Scales Back Carbon-Tax Plans
The Wall Street Journal, 2 August 2018

OTTAWA—Canada’s Liberal government is scaling back elements of its planned carbon-tax regime to address worries from the business community about global competition.

The amendments to the carbon-tax regime were relayed to business representatives last week, according to two people familiar with the briefing and confirmed by government officials Wednesday. Under the changes, industrial companies would now have fewer of their emissions—20% versus the original 30%—subject to the levy. The carbon tax takes effect next year, and starts at 10 Canadian dollars (US$7.68) a metric ton and rises gradually to C$50 a ton in 2022.
In their presentation, Canadian officials told business representatives the change was spurred by concerns over competitiveness, according to people briefed.

Industry associations have warned the new carbon-pricing regime would hinder investment plans and put Canadian firms at a disadvantage—especially given President Trump’s push to repeal energy and environmental regulations to bolster U.S. energy production, and deep reductions in U.S. corporate tax rates. Those worries have escalated, industry officials warn, with U.S. tariffs on industrial goods. Companies may be looking to locate as much production in America to avoid the tariff threat, business leaders and economists warns.

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2) Trump’s Tax Cuts, Tariffs Force Trudeau To Retreat On Carbon Tax
Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, 1 August 2018

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s administration will scale back plans to tax carbon dioxide emissions from industrial operations amid intense political backlash from conservatives and businesses.

Two Canadian provinces — Saskatchewan and Ontario — are suing the central government over its carbon tax, but the industry is chafing against Trudeau’s carbon tax because of pressures south of the border.

President Donald Trump’s protectionist tariffs and tax cuts are putting competitive pressures on Canadian industries. Trudeau’s carbon tax, they fear, would only make them less competitive.

Trump slapped tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum imports in June, sparking retaliatory tariffs from Canada. The U.S. is now suing Canada and other countries in the World Trade Organization over these retaliatory tariffs.

Tax cuts signed into law by Trump late in 2017 also put competitive pressures on Canada, according to news reports. GOP-led tax relief lowered the U.S. corporate tax rate to 21 percent.

Now, Canadian regulators are adjusting the threshold at which a carbon tax kicks in for large industries.
Regulators met with industry representatives and “determined that four industries in particular — cement, iron and steel, lime and nitrogen fertilizer producers — face a high competitive risk,” The Canada Press reported Wednesday.

Those industries will only pay the carbon tax for emissions over their sector’s average. The Trudeau administration will now raise those thresholds from 70 percent to 80 percent for some industries and 90 percent for others.

Trudeau could scale back Canada’s carbon tax even further before it takes effect in 2019.

Full story

3) Canadian Tories: Trudeau’s Carbon Tax ‘Climbdown’ Shows ‘We Have Been Right All Along’
Huffington Post Canada, 1 August 2018 

Ontario Tories have wasted no time gloating about what they’ve dubbed a “climbdown” from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on carbon pricing.

In question period Wednesday, Progressive Conservative MPP Christine Hogarth lobbed softball questions to Environment Minister Rod Phillips on the federal government’s decision to increase the threshold at which heavy polluters will need to pay a price on carbon emissions.

The move is a response to competitive pressures, particularly from the United States where President Donald Trump has slashed corporate taxes and slapped tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

Hogarth said the Trudeau government has “finally come to terms with the ineffectiveness of their planned carbon tax,” and asked Phillips to weigh in.

The environment minister noted the changes come after “closed-door meetings” with industry stakeholders, as reported by The Globe and Mail.

“This climbdown by the federal government is a signal that we have been right all along,” Hogarth said, adding the Ontario government will oppose a “job-killing carbon tax” of any size.

“I’m happy to see that Justin Trudeau woke up this morning and smelled the coffee,” Hogarth added. […]

A federally imposed carbon price would start at $20 per tonne and increase to a level of $50 a tonne by 2022.

Phillips told the legislature Wednesday that Tories will use every tool possible to oppose Trudeau's environmental plan.

"We did not fight a campaign to eliminate cap and trade just to have a job-killing carbon tax imposed," he said.

Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna told HuffPost Canada in an emailed statement that big polluters can't be let off the hook.

Full story

4) Mark Bonokoski: Canadians Don’t Want Liberals’ Carbon Tax Forced On Them
Toronto Sun, 26 July 2018 

When Ontario Premier Doug Ford blew up any thoughts of his province joining in on the Trudeau Liberals’ carbon-tax cash grab, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna all but blew a gasket.

How dare Ford not want to save the world? she undoubtedly thought, as if the newly-elected premier of Canada’s most-populated province was dumping a billion tonnes of plastic straws into the ocean rather than seeing the carbon tax for what it is — which is a solve-nothing picking of Ontarians’ collective pocket.

A new poll by Angus Reid has McKenna’s quest for environmental vainglory failing to attract the kind of backing the government will need if it plans to achieve victory in the 2019 federal election while peddling a forced carbon tax, no matter how progressive and feel-good it might be to a prime minister who loves to strut his enviro-friendly bona fides.

Again, this is not his fault. Justin Trudeau’s good friend and principal secretary, Gerald Butts, is a Class-A tree hugger, having spent a recent four years a president and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund Canada, a global environmental agency so far to the left no middle ground exists.

So, Trudeau, Butts and McKenna are hip-joined.
As McKenna recently tweeted, “Climate change … is the greatest challenge of our time.”

Not war, nuclear proliferation, poverty, pestilence, mental illness and terrorism, but climate change.
When the Liberals’ carbon-pricing plan comes into effect Jan. 1, provinces that the Trudeau crowd deems to be slackers when it comes to a sufficient enviro-plan will be forced into one by their federal masters.

Some two-thirds of Canadians, however, which comprises a rather significant voting bloc considering the usual voter apathy, believe the provinces, not Ottawa, should be determining the appropriate path to reduce carbon emissions.

Doug Ford, on behalf of his Progressive Conservative majority, wants no part of being forced into this corner, and neither does Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, thus far Ford’s only ally in power.

If Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party wins in the Canadian oilsands capital of Alberta, as it is expected to do in a walk, then the anti-carbon-tax musketeers have their third member.

With numbers come power.

Seven in 10 Canadians (72%), for example, and 88% of the folks in Saskatchewan, believe Moe has every right to take the Trudeau Liberals to court, arguing his province has its own carbon plan and that Ottawa has no right to play dictator when it comes to environmental policy.

The majority of Ontarians, while by slimmer margins (55%), also believe Ford had the right to end the province’s cap-and-trade program adopted by the since-decimated Wynne Liberals who went from a majority at Queen’s Park to one seat shy of the perquisites and money that comes with official party status.

Their junk-yard policies, as well as their fiscal ineptness and love of taxation, relegated them to the landfill for recycling.

Full post

5) Case Dismissed: Federal Judge Puts Final Nail In The Coffin Of California’s ‘Global Warming Lawsuit’
Watts Up With That? 31 July 2018 

From the “It’s dead Jim” department comes this ruling from the UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA, and Judge Alsup:

Some excerpts of the ruling:

The question is therefore whether or not plaintiffs’ alleged harm — namely, the effects of global warming-induced sea level rise — would have occurred even absent each defendant’s respective California-related activities. It is manifest that global warming would have continued in the absence of all California-related activities of defendants. Plaintiffs have therefore failed to adequately link each defendants’ alleged California activities to plaintiffs’ harm.

As earlier orders have pointed out, plaintiffs’ nuisance claims depend on a global complex of geophysical cause and effect involving all nations of the planet. Ocean rise, as far as plaintiffs contend, would have occurred even without regard to each defendant’s California contacts.

Lacking, however, is a causal chain sufficiently connecting plaintiffs’ harm and defendants’ California activities.

Finally, plaintiffs advocate for a less stringent standard of “but for” causation in light of the liability rules underlying public nuisance claims. Such an argument has been rejected by our court of appeals, which has instructed that “liability is not to be conflated with amenability to suit in a particular forum.”

For the same reasons discussed above, however, plaintiffs do not satisfy this third requirement. Even taking plaintiffs’ allegations as true, they have failed to show that BP or Royal Dutch Shell’s national conduct was a “but for” cause of their harm.


For the reasons stated above, defendants’ motions to dismiss pursuant to FRCP 12(b)(2) are GRANTED.

You can read the court order here:

6) Bombshell: New York Times Debunks #Exxonknew Climate Campaign
Energy Indepth, 1 August 2018 

The New York Times Magazine has published an entire issue devoted to a single investigative piece on climate change, which observes that by the late 1970s and early 1980s, “everybody knew” it was happening. The conclusion is a major blow to climate activists, who have spent years engaging in a political campaign targeting energy companies for supposedly covering up the risks of climate change, and thus preventing global action.

The author, Nathaniel Rich, writes that from 1979 to 1989 humanity had the best opportunity it has ever had to solve global warming and that “nothing stood in our way – nothing except ourselves.” Rich even goes as far as to say that “[a] common boogeyman today is the fossil-fuel industry,” but during the time when “everybody knew,” oil companies “including Exxon and Shell, made good-faith efforts to understand the scope of the crisis and grapple with possible solutions.”

This lengthy report shreds the narrative put out by anti-oil and gas activists in recent years. As Rich told PBS NewsHour:

“By 1979, there was a strong consensus within the scientific community about the nature of the problem. The fundamental science hasn’t really evolved since then. It’s only been refined really.

There was no politicization of the issue throughout the decade. A number of prominent Republicans were leading the charge to insist on a major climate policy, and industry, which we now blame for much of our paralysis, had not turned against science or truth and if anything, especially in the early part of the decade, was engaged in trying to understand the problem and determine solutions

“By the mid-50s, you had top government scientists speaking about the issue. You had major articles in Life Magazine and Time. So it wasn’t just industry that was following it. It was at the highest levels of government. Lyndon Johnson sent a special message to Congress in 1965 that discussed the problem.” (emphasis added)

If all of humanity was informed of the dangers of climate change in the 1970s and agreed that something needed to be done, how can activists lay the blame for global inaction at the feet of the industry and political partisanship? As Rich writes,

“The rallying cry of this multipronged legal effort is ‘Exxon Knew.’ It is incontrovertibly true that senior employees at the company that would later become Exxon, like those at most other major oil-and-gas corporations, knew about the dangers of climate change as early as the 1950s. But the automobile industry knew, too, and began conducting its own research by the early 1980s, as did the major trade groups representing the electrical grid. They all own responsibility for our current paralysis and have made it more painful than necessary. But they haven’t done it alone.

The United States government knew. Roger Revelle began serving as a Kennedy administration adviser in 1961, five years after establishing the Mauna Loa carbon-dioxide program, and every president since has debated the merits of acting on climate policy. Carter had the Charney report, Reagan had ‘Changing Climate’ and Bush had the censored testimony of James Hansen and his own public vow to solve the problem. Congress has been holding hearings for 40 years; the intelligence community has been tracking the crisis even longer.

Everybody knew. In 1958, on prime-time television, ‘The Bell Science Hour’ — one of the most popular educational film series in American history — aired ‘The Unchained Goddess,’ a film about meteorological wonders, produced by Frank Capra, a dozen years removed from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ warning that ‘man may be unwittingly changing the world’s climate’ through the release of carbon dioxide. ‘A few degrees’ rise in the Earth’s temperature would melt the polar ice caps,’ says the film’s kindly host, the bespectacled Dr. Research. ‘An inland sea would fill a good portion of the Mississippi Valley. Tourists in glass-bottomed boats would be viewing the drowned towers of Miami through 150 feet of tropical water.’ Capra’s film was shown in science classes for decades.

Everyone knew — and we all still know.” (emphasis added)

This conclusion – that #EveryoneKnew – is even supported by activists, though they haven’t yet followed their arguments to their logical conclusion.

Groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists and Greenpeace were quick to follow #ExxonKnew with #ShellKnew and #UtilitiesKnew, blaming every company they don’t like while failing to acknowledge their own amnesia on climate change. The idea that energy companies “knew everything there was to know about climate change,” as Bill McKibben likes to say, and that the rest of us didn’t know about it until James Hansen testified before Congress in 1988, “is one of the worst examples we have of the cultural amnesia of this country and especially around this issue,” Rich told NewsHour.

Full post

7) And Finally: The Sun Sets On UK Solar Energy
Paul Homewood, Not A Lot Of People Know That, 1 August 2018 

Subsidies to new installations of solar power via the Renewable Obligation scheme were withdrawn with effect from April 2016, although schemes already in progress were given leeway.

The latest BEIS figures for new capacity additions show just how drastic the fall in new installations has been since. In the last 12 months, only 647MW of capacity has been added, giving a total installed capacity at March 2018 of 12.9GW.

Much of the capacity added in the last year is for projects in the pipeline before 2016, and therefore still eligible for subsidy.

The current situation seems even more dire. Provisional BEIS data says that only 21MW was added in April and May.

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The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at

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