Abacus Data recently issued “Perceptions in Carbon Pricing in Canada,” a survey intended to evaluate national sentiments about carbon taxes.
First, this is a push poll.
The responses are presented as if they are a linear scale of response – but look at how biased the response is toward the high end. What are the definitions of:
- Very High
- Low Priority
Whatever happened to:
- Top priority
- Moderate priority
- Sufficiently managed
- Low priority
- Not an issue/Don’t Care
The survey should have included a response of “Don’t care.” The survey’s construction suggests to respondents that all of the issues should be a concern when, for example, people without children won’t likely care about child care costs.
Second, the issues are presented as if they are independent. Maybe so, but why are environment-related topics repeated three times?
So, of the three environment-related concerns, climate change is the last.
And if we look at the aggregate environmental concerns, the three are dead last behind childcare.
Ecofiscal Commission’s push for carbon pricing is based upon the Abacus survey cumulative statistics and they suggest that moderate concern is the cut-off and the aggregate of environmental concerns is tied with Terrorism.
But, last is last, using the cut-off for “respondents don’t care” at Moderate.
In the absence of a “Don’t care” category, one could also say 25% of Canadians don’t care about climate change, and less than half as many Canadians listed climate change as a top priority, compared to their number one issue – Health Care.
And as ever, the pat comment: “Canadians want action on climate change.”
What ‘action’? How much will it cost? Will it be effective? To what extent? Where is the cost-benefit analysis of proposed ‘action’?
Further, instead of asking the general public questions about climate change and their perceptions, let’s look at what experts in the sciences think, whose responses are based on the evidence and on scientific principles they deal with every day. Albertans were identified as ‘laggards’ in the survey – ironically Alberta has some 70,000 registered Professional Geoscientists and Professional Engineers – one of the highest per capita concentrations of scientific experts in Canada. Likewise, until recently, many such experts were also commonly found in Alberta politics, bringing their significant expertise to matters of energy and climate change. This 2012 Lefsrud and Meyer survey gives some insight into the views of such professionals on climate change and potential for mitigation.
The COP-21 Paris Agreement is always presented as the reason that Canada ‘must’ meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets; thus Ecofiscal’s idea is that a price on carbon or carbon tax/cap and trade will cause people to use less fossil fuel based energy, and so reach our targets, but that is a fantasy.
First of all, individual emissions are nominal compared to those of industry (see Robert Lyman’s video below). Secondly, the Paris agreement is non-binding. Thirdly, no signatory is expected to meet their targets. Fourthly, the reduction in warming if all signatory nations met all targeted commitments would be only 0.17 degree C (seventeen one hundredths of a degree Celsius). Lastly, in Canada, where distances are great and winters are long, dark and cold, there is no viable alternative to fossil fuels.
This is why a carbon tax in Canada will impose undue hardship on everyone. (except the green crony capitalists who play the carbon trading markets – they will have a field day on your dimes and dollars.)
Robert Lyman explains why turning down the thermostat and putting on the sweater won’t save the world (though you may personally benefit slightly from being more energy efficient where it makes sense).