Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Impact of a Climate Change Deal on Canada

A new report suggests a deal on climate change is not economically unmanageable. Conservatives and other climate change deniers tend to ignore the scientific evidence and parrot fears about the catastrophic economic impact of an international climate change deal.

A recent report acknowledges the costs, but refutes conservative economic concerns. The report was carried out by the Pembina Institute and David Suzuki Foundation, titled "Climate, Leadership, Economic Prosperity; final report on an economic study of greenhouse gas targets and policies for Canada," This report indicates that a pledge to substantively cut Canada's greenhouse gas emissions would have the following costs:

- Alberta's gross domestic product would shrink between seven and 12 per cent below what it would otherwise be, and Saskatchewan and British Columbia also would suffer losses.

- Canada would annually have to purchase between $2 billion and $8 billion worth of offshore carbon credits a year.

Despite these costs, the report indicates that, even with serious cutbacks, Canada's GDP would continue to grow, on average, by 2.1 per cent annually between 2010 and 2020.(Since 2000, Canada's GDP growth has exceeded 2.1 in five of the years, and been below that the other four).

This report suggests that a climate change deal will not cause cataclysmic economic impacts in Canada. However, if emissions are left unchecked there is a wealth of peer reviewed scientific data that indicates we would be facing a host of dire life threatening impacts.

A global agreement on climate change will reduce emissions and hasten the development of an entirely new green economy. Although there are serious challenges associated with the adoption of a post Kyoto deal, the absence of such a deal could prove calamitous.

Next: The Dangerous Diversion of Climategate

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