Letter – Criticism issued over the provincial government’s carbon tax

To the editor:
The February 21st edition of “The Signal” had an article by our MLA and Provincial Minister of Energy, Marg McCuaig-Boyd in which she extolls the virtues of Bioenergy Companies. I too fully support these companies but they must be on the same level playing field as the fossil fuel producers are, namely natural gas, oil and coal.

When our MLA talks about the $60 million Bioenergy Producer Program, what she is really doing, is thanking you and I for allowing her Government to reach into our pockets and take $60 million dollars to fund energy companies that could not otherwise compete with natural gas, oil and coal as energy producers . At the same time, her government is shutting down coal producers and putting folks who work in this industry, out of work. This is all in the name of Green Energy and her NDP’s carbon tax.

If you doubt this, consider Australia’s experience.

Australia recently eliminated their carbon tax which was started in 2007 by the then Labour government, which is the equivalent of our NDP. At the time the Labour government committed the country to emissions trading schemes and mandatory renewable energy targets. In southern Australia, the target for renewable energy was set at 50 per cent of overall capacity. Coal fired electricity, though reliable and cheap, was eliminated in this region.

Ten years have passed and the chickens have come to roost. Recently, when summer temperatures pushed their way past 40 degrees Celsius, which is normal in this part of the world; the green, renewable power grid failed. There were rolling blackouts in major cities, as the wind stopped blowing and the wind turbines stopped turning. As well the power demand exceeded what the power grid could supply because the coal generators had been shut down. People were desperate to keep their air conditioners running and bought up a massive number of portable gas generators.

Even the Australian Navy was forced to temporarily close one of their shipyards due to the unreliable power supply. They are now constructing a stand by diesel generator.

The irony here is that the Aussies have abundant coal reserves in the north and can easily produce low-cost, reliable electricity with clean coal technology. The only thing standing in the way is political and ideological reasons.

Recently in the “Financial Post,” Jack Mintz from the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary, noted that “governments everywhere are starting to back away from anti-carbon policies.”

Germany is returning to coal power and green subsidies have been cancelled in the UK, Portugal, and Spain. The U.S. has committed itself to defending the UNs climate machinery and to expanding the American coal and petroleum industries. Ontario’s anti-coal policy has seriously hurt its economy and led to some Ontarians having to choose between eating and paying for heat.

There are two lessons here for Alberta. First, an energy policy rooted in the ideological opposition to fossil fuels won’t be implemented without a steep and unnecessary price. Second, despite the rhetoric, the world’s biggest coal users are not buying into the high-cost, anti-coal doctrines, recognizing that technology is always advancing to find a cleaner method for coal generators.

At the same time, many nations that have moved much further down the renewables road than Alberta are turning back, recognizing that the financial and human costs are simply prohibitive.

The question is, will our MLA Marg McCuaig-Boyd and her friends at the Alberta Legislature realize this?
David Lahoda
Spirit River, AB

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