May 26th, 2017

Carbon tax debate a complex issue

By Letter to the Editor on January 5, 2017.

Much of the debate over the recently enacted carbon tax, it seems to me, misses the point.

The debate is often portrayed as a struggle between business people and consumers on the one hand, and unyielding environmentalists on the other. Actually, it is a little more complex than that. Admittedly, there are firmly committed environmentalists who are unlikely to compromise on either pipelines or oilsands extraction. But lost in the debate played out on editorial pages and newscasts is that both businesses and consumers have much more to gain from well-thought-out environmental initiatives than is generally recognized.

Albertans will be challenged to find new markets for our energy, agricultural, forestry and industrial products at a time when our traditional market in the United States appears to be softening. For many of these exports, our environmental credibility will have a lot to do with how well they are received.

Both the federal and Alberta governments recognize the link between sustainability and market access. The legislation to cap greenhouse gas emissions in the oil patch at 100 megatons per year is a reflection of that fact. So, too, was the federal government’s insistence that Alberta put a carbon tax in place prior to approving two unpopular pipelines to the West Coast.

Alberta is in the unenviable position of deriving much of its wealth from an environmentally suspect source. Short of leaving the oil, gas and bitumen in the ground, Alberta needs to develop regulations, processes and innovative technologies that persuade our customers that we are serious about mitigating the environmental impacts associated with the energy sector.

Moreover, we should expect that future Albertans will be pressed to do the same thing in the agricultural, forestry, and manufacturing sectors.

Robert (Bob) Tarleck


16 Responses to “Carbon tax debate a complex issue”

  1. Fedup Conservative says:

    Great comments Bob. Alberta should have been showing the world they were a leader in trying to curb our pollution long ago , like Lougheed was advocating , instead Klein,Stelmach and Harper wouldn’t listen giving Alberta a black eye throughout the world. Every oilman I have ever spoken with says, yes it is dirty oil, so why not brag about what we are doing to clean it up. The fact is they spent millions on trying to pull the wool over the eyes of people not dumb enough to let them. It maybe too late now to win back the people and get their support in letting us get it to market. If we don’t you can bet many seniors won’t be able to afford to live here.

    The oilmen in the Edmonton area, especially the ones from eastern Canada aren’t surprised that Quebec isn’t willing to help Alberta get their oil to market after all the sarcastic remarks Ralph Klein and his supporters hurled at them over the years. They are still doing it. They certainly haven’t forgotten Klein’s “Let those eastern bastards freeze in the dark” comment. Or that Alberta is broke because we have had to send billions to Quebec and Ottawa in equalization payments. There is no such thing, Alberta have never paid one penny to Ottawa, or Quebec in equalization payments. Just one more thing we can thank Klein for.

    • Ruby Khan says:

      Excellent comments

      The other letter in today’s paper states that the NDP aren’t much better than the PC’s were….;-(

      Citizens Advocating Use of Sustainable Energy is trying to promote online public discussions on these issues so we can all learn from each other and raise the level of discussion.

      • Incal says:

        In raising the level of discussion, one place we can start is to cease calling CO2 a “pollutant.” That, it is most definitely not.

        To step the discussion up from there, try encouraging the development of an energy source that can take on petroleum across the world and beat its market share. The renewables are seriously inadequate; we need much more than what they can offer.

        You can bet this is one contest where Bob’s “firmly committed environmentalists” will fold, since they lack genuine creativity. The problem is, they’ll still mobilize to dominate every discussion. The rest of us speak up in their despite.

  2. Fedup Conservative says:

    @Incal That’s the whole point CO2 is definitely a pollutant when you are producing a lot more than the world’s plants can absorb and that’s where we are today. Apparently you haven’t been to Germany , or other Scandinavian countries to see what’s being done. They are making great head ways in going green and it’s creating a huge number of jobs for them.

    I think every home in Alberta should have solar panels on their roofs. A friend in Devon, AB put them on his home in 1975 and says it’s the smartest thing he ever did. The more people that buy them the cheaper they will become, just like we have see with our electronics over the years. .

    • Fescue says:

      Really, the plant thing again!? You can do better than that old dross.

      The definition of “pollution” from Encyclopedia Brittanica is:
      “the addition of any substance (solid, liquid, or gas) or any form of energy (such as heat, sound, or radioactivity) to the environment at a rate faster than it can be dispersed, diluted, decomposed, recycled, or stored in some harmless form.”

      CO2 is a pollutant, as Fedup has articulated, because it cannot be absorbed fast enough by planetary systems and, therefore, disrupts these systems and causes harm. Ocean acidification is a serious impact of rising CO2 emissions, as is climate disruption (precipitation amounts and times) that will have a much greater negative effect than the slight benefit to growing plants.

      In other words, you need to think in systems, not a single factor like CO2 concentrations in a greenhouse all else being equal. But you already know that – so why the deception?

  3. Fedup Conservative says:

    It really is amazing how ignorant so many Alberta seniors are as an oilman recently said to me. He worked in the oilfield for 42 years, recently retired and after having coffee with seniors has learned how ignorant many of them are. I learned it the same way in the late 1990s. Like me, he certainly knows why we are in such a horrific financial mess. Seniors letting the Conservatives make fools of them and just too dumb to understand what has been happening to Alberta and the rest of the world and too dumb to change. As three different University Professors have said to me over the years “You can’t change them , they are what they are narrow-minded , incapable of understanding the big picture, and they think they’re a lot smarter than the rest of us.

  4. Fedup Conservative says:

    Sorry Clem that you feel so guilty about it. Go right a head and show me where I’m wrong by giving me a list of all the wonderful things the Klein, Stelmach and Redford governments did for you, I know you can’t , as any of the lawyers, oilmen , chartered accountants, University professors, doctors, nurses, teachers, bankers or MLAs from the Lougheed Government will tell you everything they did was done to help their rich friends take money from your pockets. And I’m betting you let them do it, not man enough to put up a fight, like so many true-blue conservatives did. It’s why we voted them out. .
    Now the Wildrose and the Conservatives are promoting more of the same thing. They want us to keep on giving away our royalties and taxes to their rich friends and dump the cost of the health care onto the backs of the people, like Klein tried to do with his Third-Way. Doctors will tell you they are deliberately trying to take the health care services away from the average Albertans and make it so their rich friends will have first priority to it. Why would anyone be dumb enough to support that?

    • Clem says:

      That is pretty much the same reply you gave me once before, do you just copy and paste everything? Why are you such a miserable person? I’ll bet you’re the “Crabby Old Man” on Hawthorne Crescent aren’t you?

  5. Fedup Conservative says:

    So Clem where’s your list and no I haven’t lived on Hawthorne Crescent for several years, as if it’s any of your business. If it wasn’t bad enough that we had known Ralph Klein since the early 1960s and knew what a jerk he was, Klein almost killed my father with his health care cuts, after dad spent countless hours donating his money and his time volunteering for the Lougheed and Getty governments, and relatives lost their jobs in the health care system thanks to his health care cuts. One of Lougheed’s cabinet ministers was a brother in-law of one of my uncles, we were proud to support the Conservative Party until Getty invited this Liberal Klein into the Conservative party. Getty told us it was the dumbest thing he ever did. Now we have a relative in a nursing home in Calgary at a cost of nearly $11,000. per month and have talked to at least a dozen other people who’s families are also in a horrific financial mess thanks to what the conservatives did to this province. The fact is there was nothing conservative about them.Too bad you aren’t smart enough to understand that. But then sitting on your ass and not getting out to talk to professionals or former MLAs about why this province is in such a mess is what guys like you do best. You think you are a lot smarter than them, you aren’t..

    I’m only doing this so fools , like you, can show case how stupid you are so thanks for letting me do it.

  6. biff says:

    clem – maybe getting too personal; opinions on just the issues is fair here, please.
    as the string has come so far, fed and fes make the best case.
    i fail to understand how there are people that still feel the planet is ours for the taking, to use and abuse whatever however. we need a healthy planet – that requires diversity of species and organisms on land and in water, clean and plentiful waters, clean air… even if we did not need any of that to survive, why the need to dominate, plunder, and destroy this beauty? is it just to defend or support an economic theory?; subjugation of the natural by the artificial. we are so far off a healthy, reasonable and sustainable course, not just environmentally but apparently psychologically, too. pardon the drama but i wonder how it remains that we choose to fall in line behind psychopaths?

    • Fedup Conservative says:

      @ biff Sadly it’s all Clem has. The guys mind is so screwed he can’t come up with any facts to prove I’m wrong. Pull up my letter in the Medicine Hat News Dec 21 “Wildrose, PCs Spreading lies about NDP ” and read the mindless comment I got from Samantha Johnston press secretary for the Wildrose Party “Patently false claims about Wildrose made in recent letter” Dec. 23.. Same story passes my remarks off as a pack of lies without any facts to prove it. Why would I lie about what I’m saying? Maybe she should have talked to Lawyer Marilyn Burns, one of the founding fathers of the Wildrose Party, who asked me to run as their leader in the 2004 election.
      In addition to what I said in my letter Lougheed’s mines and minerals minister ( energy minister today) Bill Dickie was a brother in-law of one of my uncles.We were strong conservative supporters until Klein came along.As you know the horrific mess we are in was all started by Ralph Klein, yet the recent members of the Wildrose Party consider him to be their hero and some of their candidates have told some of us that he should have privatized health care and education like they want to do. You know what that would do to Albertans. While they are promoting their stupidity to Albertans only a handful of people are showing up to listen to them and of course they are mostly seniors, letting themselves be treated like morons once again.

      Before the greatest lady I ever knew , Lois Hole, our former Lieutenant Governor passed away I made her a promise that I would continue to fight this Wildrose and Conservative Party as long as I can to keep them from completely destroying this province. As my friends say it’s not the Parties you have to worry about it’s the idiots who support them. These mindless zombies, as one guy calls them, are too stupid to understand what you are trying to do. He is right and guys like Clem and others on this blog prove it. I’m trying to save their ass and they don’t want it saved, they love watching their money disappear. This Christmas the Christmas Bureau in Edmonton stated that the need for hampers to feed seniors had gone up 40% this year and friends that volunteer at the food banks state that seniors have become their most common customers. How many of them were Ralph Klein supporters?

  7. biff says:

    as much as i agree with you, i would further say the mess we all are in needed even more than senior support. people struggle to think – they like info easy. a sly headline and a good soundbite and experts abound. waterfront property on the gentle shores of a tailings pond anyone?

  8. Fedup Conservative says:

    @biff Unfortunately for years we were told that seniors were the only ones voting in Alberta and it was seniors who were blindly supporting the Klein, Stelmach and Redford governments and it was seniors who attacked me every time I made a point about what Klein and the rest were doing to us. Finally the young people had seen enough, they understood we were being screwed out of our money, and they helped us finally vote them out. It’s up to us to make certain these fools don’t get back in, with their privatization schemes to help their rich friends.

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