Op-ed contributed by Michelle Stirling © 2018.
Michelle Stirling is Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society.
Like many things in the world of climate change, conflicts of interest appear to abound in a Dec. 25, 2018 Globe and Mail editorial entitled: “Politicians are robbing from the future to pay for the present.”
The editorial takes a shot at Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, claiming his reference to ‘intergenerational theft’ on debt, could be applied to the issue of carbon taxes (which the Conservatives oppose) and climate change, which the Globe and Mail editorial team insists requires us to rein in greenhouse gas emissions to ensure a live-able planet tomorrow.
It is problematic that the editor-in-chief of the Globe and Mail is also a Senior VP, Office of the CEO of the Royal Bank of Canada.* Royal Bank touts climate change as “one of the most pressing issues of our time” and curiously claims “In December 2015, nearly 200 governments adopted the Paris Agreement, a legally-binding international agreement…”
*Note: Globe and Mail states on their updated May 2, 2018 editorial board page: “John Stackhouse is Editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail.” Royal Bank on their RBC Wealth Management page about Mr. Stackhouse as VP state: “Prior to this, John was editor-in-chief of The Globe and Mail (2009-14).”
Robert Lyman, Ottawa energy policy consultant and former public servant of 27 years and diplomat for 10 years prior, writes in “The COP21 Agreement – Just the Facts, Please” that the COP21 Paris Agreement is voluntary and legally non-binding. We know that the Paris Agreement is legally non-binding because President Trump pulled the USA out of Paris.
This means that Canada can leave at anytime, the sooner the better. To meet Paris targets, Lyman explains in his presentation “Can Canada Survive Climate Change Policy?” what the impact of Paris greenhouse gas reduction targets would be for Canada.
“Assuming that emissions do not grow one bit over the next 32 years as a result of increased economic activity or increased population, achieving a 50 per cent emissions reduction from 2005 levels would mean reducing emissions to 369 megatonnes CO2 equivalent. That is comparable to completely eliminating the current emissions from oil and gas production, electricity generation, and all emissions-intensive industries like mining, petrochemicals, auto and parts manufacturing, iron, steel and cement. Gone. Achieving the aspirational goal of 80 per cent reduction recommended by the IPCC would mean reducing emissions to 147 megatonnes CO2 equivalent. That would be comparable to reducing Canada’s per capita emissions and our energy economy to the current levels of Bolivia, Sudan or Iraq.”
Why isn’t the Globe and Mail reporting on that?
Is it a conflict of interest for Mr. Stackhouse to also be promoting Smart Prosperity while sitting as Editor-in-Chief of a major Canadian newspaper (with a reported readership of 7.4 million people across all platforms) and VP of a major bank? Globe and Mail’s editorial code of conduct is here.
Smart Prosperity is pushing “Clean Growth” – a sector that Robert Lyman describes as a “Clean Growth Hallucination”. As discussed in a compilation of Robert Lyman’s “Subsidies to Solar and Wind Energy in Canada – an Inventory,” these so-called “clean” industries typically survive on tax subsidies and special treatment, often with a pass on environmental issues and enhanced incentives and goodies like flow-through shares. As illustrated in our report “Grounded in Reality,” Smart Prosperity’s demand for accelerated clean tech fails to appreciate that competitor nations are succeeding, not because of their clean-tech sector, but because they have ample port access and most have large merchant marines.
While the Globe and Mail laud carbon taxes as a means that “..most conservative economists believe is the most efficient way to curb emissions…” they don’t reference the view of Dr. Ross McKitrick, who has pointed out that carbon taxes are far too high, because they are calibrated to climate models that run far too hot.
They don’t reference economist Dr. Richard Tol, past lead author of the UN’s 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report who left the panel and refused to sign the report because it was too exaggerated and apocalyptic. He is quoted as saying: “The organization is being led and controlled by people who have a stake in climate policy.”
Tol has developed an economic model that assesses the relative benefits and damages of warming. His FUND model estimates that Canada benefits by over six billion CAD dollars per year thanks to the recent moderate warming and the net benefits continually increase throughout the 21 century. .
Perhaps the Globe and Mail was referring to Ecofiscal Commission economists? We rebut their report with “Let Them Eat Carbon.”
So who are the people who have a stake in climate policy? Well, all the signatories to the UNPRI – UN Principles for Responsible Investment. This is a transnational, unelected, unaccountable, exclusive club of institutional investors and major banks and corporations, all of whom must ‘comply or explain’ once they sign on to this ‘voluntary’ organization. Some of the founders are Canada’s largest pension funds, Al Gore’s Generation Investment Management, the UN Joint Chiefs of Staff pension fund, etc. In 2014, the UNPRI had pension funds sign the Montreal pledge, to get out there and push “climate laggard” corporations and governments in Canada, Australia and the US to get on the climate change hysteria bandwagon. Institutional investors became activists!
In Canada, NEI Investments was identified and lauded by the UNPRI as one of the most active on that file. NEI delivered a letter to Premier Notley on Sept. 8, 2015, with a list of what they thought the Alberta Climate Plan should be…and voila.They and their 120 signatories, most of whom have little or no geographic or national relationship to Canada (i.e. Church of Sweden pension fund) have caused Albertans to have a crippling carbon tax, phase-out of coal (putting 7,000 people out of work; 30 communities destroyed), cap on oil sands production and an addition of the virtually useless wind and solar to the Alberta power grid, destroying Alberta’s last economic advantage for industry.
Would it not be appropriate for the Globe and Mail to provide full disclosure of these apparent conflicts of interest related to its editorial board, not to mention that the Globe and Mail is owned by Woodbridge Company Ltd, the majority owner of Thomas Reuters which has swallowed climate change, hook line and sinker?
The Globe editorial then tries to take a shot at Scheer on the issue of preserving a financial benefit for future generations in the form of the Norwegian Sovereign Wealth Fund, while mocking Alberta’s Heritage Trust Fund, where Norway got the idea. The Globe claims the Norwegian Fund is worth $1.3-trillion; let’s not forget Norway’s External Debt reached 651.3 USD bn in Jun 2018. Let’s also remember that Norway is a (tiny) country of 5 million people, ringed by open water and dotted with ports; Alberta is just a land-locked province of 4.2 million people, blocked by its confederation “partners” on east and west coasts from reaching any markets.
Back in 2013 the headlines talked about Norway’s “mythical wealth”:
“At three-quarters of a trillion dollars, the Norwegian Oil Fund appears to provide plenty for a country with scarcely 5 million citizens. Yet the country has accumulated a foreign debt that, at $657 billion, is almost as massive. Subtracting the debt from the fund’s $740 billion leaves a balance of only $83 billion.”
In 14 Years (2000-2014) Alberta sent $200 Billion to the Federal Government. Imagine had Alberta kept that money for itself. So had we kept those $s in 2014 we would have had at least $218 billion and any investment growth, which would have been significantly greater than the $83 billion Norway had then.
And speaking of carbon taxes and Norway, one should remember Norway is a tiny country where most of the population live in dense centers around the coast. Sea freight is the cheapest form of transport in the world. Norway is also about 97% hydro powered.
A 2004 peer-reviewed paper on carbon tax effect in Norway’s decade long “ambitious climate policy” says that:
They summarize by saying:
“In the wake of the Brundtland commission (United Nations, 1987), Norway has been one of the most devoted advocates for more ambitious climate policies. Carbon taxes were implemented in 1991 and received broad attention in the policy debate. The highest carbon tax rate was US$51 per tonne CO2 in 1999, and the average tax was US$21 per tonne CO2. This is among the highest carbon taxes in the world, and average tax is three to four times higher than the most common estimates for the quota price in the Kyoto Protocol. Our study shows that despite politically ambitious carbon taxes, this policy measure has had only a modest influence on GHG emissions.”
In a fossil-fuel dependent country like Canada, of vast distances and cold, dark winters, where our present fuel taxes (federal and provincial combined) add up to an equivalent $170/t carbon tax, how much more can we bear without bankrupting the people and running business offshore?
But more important, the federal government claimed it would rely on evidence-based science for policy. In this case, a carbon tax is completely useless. Since 2002, scientists have known that carbon dioxide industrial emissions are not the main driver of climate change. In 2005, a large group of leading scientists convened to discuss a new metric as the radiative forcing theory (greenhouse gas) was not viable to properly ascribe climate forcing agents.
“New studies on climate forcing agents not conventionally considered have, however, raised doubts as to the continued viability of the radiative forcing concept. For example, the climatic effects from light-absorbing aerosols or land-use changes do not lend themselves to quantification using the traditional radiative forcing concept. Aerosol effects on clouds are difficult to describe in terms of simple radiative forcing. These challenges have raised the question of whether the radiative forcing concept has outlived its usefulness and, if so, what new climate change metrics should be used.”
In 2013, in the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) AR5 report, it was revealed that warming had stagnated since before Kyoto was ratified, despite a significant rise in carbon dioxide concentration. This stagnation was not projected by any of the climate models (computer simulations), all of which were running two to three times hotter than observed temperatures. That means there has been no warming of any statistical significance for some 20 years now. Dr. Judith Curry testified to the US Senate in 2014 that carbon dioxide is not a control knob that can fine tune climate; attempts to reduce carbon dioxide as a “precautionary principle” may be futile in the face of natural variations of the sun and earth’s internal systems (volcanoes, ocean currents, atmospheric oscillations). Dr. John Christy testified to the US Senate Mar. 29, 2017, referencing IPCC material, on the influence of natural variability as the driver of climate change, as opposed to greenhouse gases.
A further element, not discussed by climate obsessed financiers like Michael Bloomberg or Mark Carney who circulate in Mr. Stackhouse’s world of banking, is the so-called “climate sensitivity” of carbon dioxide – meaning the effect carbon dioxide has on changing the climate. Over the years, researchers have progressively set the sensitivity lower and lower, meaning that if there is a low sensitivity to carbon dioxide, even if there is lots of carbon dioxide, warming will be nominal; some scientists claim there is a saturation point after which there would be no more warming. NOAA noted in 2010 that stratospheric water vapour is the ‘wild card’ in global warming.
As reported by Matthew Nisbet in 2018, much of the climate hysteria has its roots in a billionaire foundation, dedicated to instituting a global cap-and-trade system. They have been funding environmental groups for over a decade for more than $600 million a year, world-wide, to accomplish that goal. This is confirmed in the ClimateWorks Wikileaks material.
Why are these revelations not front-page news at the Globe and Mail?
Why is “Carbon Kleptomania” not an editorial feature at the Globe and Mail? Why isn’t the “Alarming Scope of Future Carbon Taxes front page news at the Globe and Mail? This is potentially breathtaking intergenerational theft that would be accomplished by establishing a carbon tax, a tax based on questionable science. This policy is being advocated for by a news outlet whose editorial team, associates and owners have curious climate or carbon-related interests that don’t appear to meet the Globe and Mail’s neutrality, objectivity, and stated apolitical policy in their Code of Conduct.
Is that editorializing or plain old climate activism?
The Paris Climate Fraud – John Stossel
Robert Lyman: Climate Change Policy – A Threat to Canada
 Greenhouse gas emissions in Norway: do carbon taxes work? https://doi.org/10.1016/S0301-4215(03)00151-4