Policies & Economics
Ontario’s Climate Change Discussion paper 2015 expresses things in simplistic terms, suggesting that a carbon tax will be beneficial to the economy and the environment. The Ontario document relies on predictions of climate models about global warming that are simply not supported by the evidence; a principle fact is that global warming has stagnated for +16 years, despite a rise in CO2. Friends of Science new report “Climate Change Policy – Ideology or Evidence” takes off the rose-colored spectacles and exposes some inconvenient truths about the impact of low-carbon policies in other jurisdictions. ‘Low-carbon’ policies are expensive and have not been shown to help the environment. When ‘polluters pay’ – consumers pay more. Canadians should learn from the sorry adventures overseas that has resulted in ‘heat-or-eat’ poverty for millions of ordinary taxpayers.
Why are education dollars, meant for the classroom, being used to build a windfarm? We’d rather see education dollars spent in the classroom than on an upstart wind farm project. This past month the spot power prices in Alberta were at an all-time low. Wind power requires more expensive natural gas back-up in the form of a peaking power plant.
The Alberta phase-out coal campaign is based on the Pembina Institute’s (March 2013) report “A Costly Diagnosis…”- but a Friends of Science review of the relevant literature and statistics demonstrates that the ‘phase-out coal’ campaign claims are not supported by the evidence. The Pembina report uses a faulty health model (that was tested and shown to predict that more people die of air pollution than die in total) and exaggerates the fine particulate emissions of coal-fired plants by 15 fold.
Phasing out coal-fired electric power plants would cost Alberta $11.4 billion. Coal-fired plants emit only 0.4 per cent of human-made emissions of particulate matter under 2.5 microns (PM2.5) each year not counting wildfires. PM2.5 emissions are blamed for exacerbating asthma. By contrast, wildfires emitted 1,000 times the PM2.5 of coal-fired power plants in 2011; wildfire smoke is full of toxic chemicals. Alberta’s affordable power from coal is literally your lifeline.
Recently two Alberta doctors made sweeping claims in an op-ed to the Calgary Herald that coal-fired power is causing millions of dollars in health costs and many deaths annually – referring to a report from last year by the Pembina Institute. Their claims were based on computer models and they dismissed critics, like me, who state that models are inaccurate. Policy decisions should be made based on evidence, not erroneous computer models. Dr. Ross McKitrick found it implausible that Pembina’s math would end up attributing half the deaths of Albertans to fine particulate matter. Early closure of Alberta’s coal-fired power plants will damage human health and impose a crushing burden on healthcare.