Conservatives make climate change a priority by reducing budget

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Environment Canada released its 2006-2007 Report on Plans and Priorities yesterday. Touting their “Made in Canada” answer to our environmental woes, the government outlines four main priorities, one of which is to “address the long-term challenge of climate change and help Canada adapt to a changing climate.” Notice the careful use of language: nowhere does this goal say anything about reducing C02, only that the government will work on accommodating the effects of an impending (and clearly undeniable) change in climate.

To do this the government will cut department spending on climate change initiatives from the $56.6 million, to $19.9 million next year , to $12.7 in 2007-08 and $15.3 million in 2008-09. In other words, the Conservatives are proposing to spend less in next three years on “adaptation” programs than their underachieving predecessors intended to spend in one year. The Tories also intend to reduce the staff working on climate change by 13% during the same period.

The Conservatives explain under “Expected Results and Key Measures” that by reducing the budget for climate change initiatives, they can anticipate this near-term future:

1. Emissions from large industries are reduced.
2. An emissions trading infrastructure will be developed, and
3. Public education and awareness of consumer options will have increased.

It’s a fairy tale rooted in self-delusion, analagous to an incompetent right-fielder closing his eyes in defence against an oncoming baseball.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is that right fielder, but we’ll all share the pain of the coming black eye.

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