The Impact of a Climate Change Deal on Canada

Anew report suggests a deal on climate change is not economicallyunmanageable. Conservatives and other climate change deniers tend toignore the scientific evidence and parrot fears about the catastrophic economic impact of an international climate change deal.

Arecent report acknowledges the costs, but refutes conservative economicconcerns. The report was carried out by the Pembina Institute and DavidSuzuki Foundation, titled "Climate, Leadership, Economic Prosperity;final report on an economic study of greenhouse gas targets andpolicies for Canada," This report indicates that a pledge tosubstantively cut Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions would have thefollowing costs:

- Alberta’s gross domestic product would shrinkbetween seven and 12 per cent below what it would otherwise be, andSaskatchewan and British Columbia also would suffer losses.

- Canada would annually have to purchase between $2 billion and $8 billion worth of offshore carbon credits a year.

Despitethese costs, the report indicates that, even with serious cutbacks,Canada’s GDP would continue to grow, on average, by 2.1 per centannually between 2010 and 2020.(Since 2000, Canada’s GDP growth hasexceeded 2.1 in five of the years, and been below that the other four).

Thisreport suggests that a climate change deal will not cause cataclysmiceconomic impacts in Canada. However, if emissions are left uncheckedthere is a wealth of peer reviewed scientific data that indicates wewould be facing a host of dire life threatening impacts.

Aglobal agreement on climate change will reduce emissions and hasten thedevelopment of an entirely new green economy. Although there areserious challenges associated with the adoption of a post Kyoto deal,the absence of such a deal could prove calamitous.

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