气候变化与战争

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Would the Liberals' climate plan really add 31 cents to pump prices?
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Future price of carbon and context of proposed clean fuel standard are key factors

Lucas Powers · CBC News · Posted: Sep 27, 2019 3:59 PM ET | Last Updated: an hour ago

Some experts say the Conservatives are cutting corners with the math they're citing in their messaging on the carbon tax. (CBC)

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As part of our federal election coverage, CBC News is assessing the truthfulness and accuracy of statements made by politicians and their parties.

The Claim: "We know that, in addition to the carbon tax, the Liberals are proposing a fuel standard which would increase the cost per litre of gasoline by a tremendous amount — altogether increasing the cost of a litre of gasoline by over 30 cents a litre."

— Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer


The Facts:

Central to the Conservatives' campaign message is the claim that Liberal efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions would cost Canadians more at the pumps. Andrew Scheer has promised that a Conservative government would scrap two central pillars of the Liberal's climate change plan: carbon pricing and a proposed clean fuel standard.

The Conservatives say that, combined, the two measures would increase the cost of one litre of gasoline by 31.1 cents. A new ad rolled out by the campaign this week features that figure prominently.

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Background materials circulated by the party shed light on how it came to that conclusion. The carbon tax, the Conservatives say, adds 22.5 cents to each litre, while the clean fuel standard would add 5 cents. Add those two numbers together, factor in HST and you get to 31.1 cents.

Is that calculation an accurate estimate of what Canadians could expect to pay under the Liberal plan? Not really.

The Conservatives' math depends on a number of assumed outcomes linked to carbon pricing that the Liberals have said wouldn't happen if they are re-elected. Their math depends on a figure for the clean fuel standard pulled from a think tank report. But one of the authors of that report argues the Conservatives are neglecting critical context.


Justin Trudeau's government first announced its intention to impose a clean fuel standard in 2016. The regulation is meant to encourage the development and use of low-carbon fuels throughout the economy and give industry an incentive to come up with new clean technologies.

The Liberals have said that their policy would focus first on liquid fuels, like gasoline and diesel, and eventually apply to gaseous and solid fuels as well. The first phase wouldn't come into effect until 2022.

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Environment and Climate Change Canada estimates the clean fuel standard could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 megatonnes per year by 2030, making it one of the core elements of the Liberal strategy to meet Canada's Paris Agreement commitments.

But what it ultimately would cost Canadians is up for debate. Sean Fraser, a Liberal candidate and parliamentary secretary to the minister of environment, said earlier this year that it is still too early "to do an accounting" on costs linked to a policy that was not fully developed at the time.

Clean Energy Canada, a think tank based at Simon Fraser University, analyzed the potential impacts and costs of the clean fuel standard and published its findings in a 2017 report.

The authors concluded it would increase the price of gasoline by between one and two cents in 2022 before eventually adding 5 cents per litre by 2030 — the figure the Tories are using in calculations.


Climate change took centre stage on the campaign trail this week, with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer attacking each other's plans. (Patrick Doyle, Christinne Muschi/Reuters)
Overall, the clean fuel standard would cost the average Canadian household about $5 per month in 2030, the report found.

But Dan Woynillowicz, policy director at Clean Energy Canada, said it makes little sense to look at those projections in isolation.

The same report found that any increases in the price of fuels caused by the clean fuel standard would be "considerably outweighed," on average, by savings derived from other climate change fighting measures. Those measures include things like high-efficiency furnaces, modernized building standards and the proliferation of hybrid and fully electric vehicles.

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"We found that while the clean fuel standard will cost the average household $5 a month in 2030, that same household's energy costs will have declined $22 by then, meaning they're actually coming out ahead to the tune of $17 a month," Woynillowicz said.

Clean Energy Canada released a statement this week accusing the Conservative campaign of misrepresenting the report's key findings and cherry-picking statistics.

$102 per tonne carbon tax?
And what about the potential for price increases driven by the carbon tax?

In their math, the Conservatives have pegged the carbon tax at $102 per tonne. That figure comes from a report issued by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, which concluded that the price of carbon would have to rise to that level by 2030 for Canada to hit its Paris Agreement target.

But the carbon tax currently amounts to $20 per tonne of emissions, which would increase to $30 per tonne next year and to $50 a tonne by 2022 under the Liberal plan — adding about 11 cents to the cost of a litre of gasoline.

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After the PBO published its report, Liberal candidate and federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said that the government had "no plan to increase the price post-2022. For Conservatives to suggest otherwise is simply false and misleading."

She also pointed to the fact that the carbon tax and clean fuel standard are not the only tools at a government's disposable in the fight against climate change. The Liberals' plan to phase out coal-powered electricity by 2030, for example, would result in significant emissions reductions in the coming decade.

A Liberal government could also opt to use more stringent regulations — such as ramping up fuel efficiency requirements for cars and trucks — in concert with other measures to reach Canada's 2030 goal, Woynillowicz said.

"This isn't a binary thing where if we don't raise the price of carbon there's no way we'll hit our Paris targets, or if we raise the price of carbon we absolutely will meet the targets. It's not that straightforward," he said.

In an interview with the Globe and Mail in August, McKenna said a Liberal government could re-evaluate the carbon price near end of its mandate but did not say it would actually increase.

It's not currently known if a carbon price of $102 per tonne would ever happen. So the Conservatives may be overestimating the potential impact on gas prices.

Verdict: Misleading

Sources: Scheer vows to scrap clean fuel standard, calls Liberal plan a 'secret fuel tax', CBC News; What a Clean Fuel Standard Can Do for Canada; Clean Energy Canada; Trudeau's increase to the carbon tax makes life more expensive for Canadians, Conservative Party of Canada; Closing the Gap: Carbon pricing for the Paris target, Parliamentary Budget Officer; McKenna backs off pledge to freeze carbon tax at $50 a tonne, Globe and Mail; Justin Trudeau signs Paris climate treaty at UN, vows to harness renewable energy, CBC News;

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lucas Powers
Senior Writer

Lucas Powers is a Toronto-based reporter and writer. He's reported for CBC News from across Canada. Have a story to tell? Email lucas.powers@cbc.ca any time.
 
最后编辑: 2019-09-27
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俄亥俄州哥伦布——气候学家称之为“小冰期”(Little Ice Age);历史学家称之为“普遍危机”(General Crisis)。
17世纪,冬季变得更长,夏季变得更凉,这扰乱了植物的生长季,导致欧洲各地粮食歉收。在从14世纪初一直延续到19世纪中叶的冰川扩张期中,这是最冷的一个世纪。1641年的夏天,是欧洲过去六个世纪以来温度第三低的夏天;1641年到1642年的冬天,是斯堪的纳维亚半岛有记录以来最冷的冬天。这种不同寻常的寒冷气候从17世纪20年代一直持续到17世纪90年代,博斯普鲁斯海峡和波罗的海上结起了厚厚的冰,人们可以从一边走到另一边。
欧洲的极寒气候和其他地方的极端天气事件导致了一连串干旱、洪水和农作物歉收,这些灾害又引发了被迫迁徙、战争和革命。在天灾人祸的夹击之下,全球人口减少了大约三分之一。
气候变化的影响可以采用两种方法来考虑,既可以根据目前的趋势来预测未来,也可以研究有详实记录的过去。
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17世纪发生的事情表明,气候状况的变化可能会导致灾难性的政治和社会后果。眼下,美国情报机构警告说,随着全球变暖,类似的灾难可能会重演——包括在水、食物、能源供应链和公共健康方面出现更加频繁、但却不可预知的危机。一些国家可能会崩溃,饥荒可能突然降临在大量人口之中,洪水或疾病可能跨越边界,导致国内动荡或国际冲突。
地球科学家们发现,在17世纪,有三个因素在全球范围内发挥了作用:火山爆发的次数增加,厄尔尼诺现象出现的次数翻了一番(沿热带的南美洲西海岸出现的异常温暖的海洋状况),以及太阳黑子的消失,减少了让地球保持温暖的太阳辐射输出。
17世纪,战争、内战和叛乱激增,全球各地瓦解的国家数量超过先前或之后的任何一个世纪。仅在1648年,俄罗斯(世界上最大的国家)和法国(欧洲人口最多的国家)就因叛乱而双双瘫痪;乌克兰、英格兰和苏格兰都爆发了内战;而在伊斯坦布尔(欧洲最大的城市),愤怒的臣民勒死了苏丹易卜拉欣(Ibrahim)。
气候并不是17世纪所有灾难的唯一元凶,但它恶化了很多灾难。在粮食歉收或者颗粒无收的时候,疾病爆发更为常见,尤其是天花和瘟疫。1641年10月23日,爱尔兰天主教徒发起的一场骚乱把属于少数派的新教徒赶出家园时,没有人预见到会出现严重的寒流和霜雪,因为那个地方那个时候出现降雪非常罕见。数以千计的新教徒被冻死,使一个政治抗议活动变成了一场点燃复仇火焰的大屠杀。奥利弗·克伦威尔(Oliver Cromwell)后来把这个事件作为他开展残酷运动,恢复新教在爱尔兰主导地位的缘由。
但是寒冷的确带来了更直接的损失。1648年,西欧遭遇了那个世纪最糟糕的粮食歉收。当面包价格出现飙升时,西西里岛、斯德哥尔摩等地爆发了骚乱。17世纪40年代,在阿尔卑斯山一带,农作物长势不好成为了一种常态,随着冰川蔓延到自上个冰河时代以来最远的地方,人们用文字记录了耕地、农庄、甚至整个村庄的消失。农作物歉收和粮食短缺清楚地反应在法国的军事记录中:出生在17世纪下半叶的士兵,平均身高比那些1700年后出生的士兵矮了一英寸,而出生在饥荒年的士兵明显比其他士兵个子矮。
全球极少有地区在17世纪的极端气候中毫发无损的。在中国,干旱、粮食严重歉收,以及税赋加重和政府计划的缩减,导致了一波匪情和混乱的出现,北部缺乏口粮的满族部落开展了一场残酷的、持续了二三十年的征战。北美和西非都经历了饥荒和野蛮战争。在印度,1627年到1630年间,古吉拉特邦先后遭遇旱灾和洪灾,导致逾100万人丧生,在日本,连续几季出现粮食歉收之后,九州岛爆发了一场大规模叛乱。五年后,饥荒和之后一个不同寻常的严冬导致大约50万日本人丧命。

人为干预无法避免火山爆发,不能阻止厄尔尼诺现象,也无法推迟干旱的发生,虽然这每一种灾难都可能导致饥荒、经济混乱和政治动荡。但是,跟350年前面对这些变化的祖先相比,我们如今既有资源也有技术来做好应对它们的准备。
例如,英国的首席科学官已发出警告:海平面的上升似乎无可阻挡,面对这种情况,“我们要么对可持续的洪水治理和海岸管理进行更大的投入,要么学会忍耐更加普遍的洪灾。”总之我们只有两个选择:一是现在就把钱花在准备工作上,二是以后付出更大的代价。
索马里发生的事情提醒我们,不作为可能导致怎样的可怕后果。该地区2010年到2012年间的干旱导致了当地的饥荒,内战干扰并阻碍了救援工作,致使情况进一步恶化,最终夺去了约25万人的生命,其中一半不足5岁。
17世纪,气候、战争和叛乱的夹击导致了数百万人丧生。今天,类似规模的自然灾害——无论人类是不是罪魁祸首——都可以夺走数以十亿计的生命。而且还会催生混乱和暴力,危及国际安全、可持续发展和合作。
所以,当我们在人类活动是否导致了气候变化这个问题上迟疑不决时,让我们不要忘记,历史记录显示,气候变化引起的诸多灾难是不可避免的——我们应该做好相应的准备。
 

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