Friday, 30 October 2009

Hitting Greenhouse Gas Targets Won't Kill Economic Growth: Prentice Calls Report "Irresponsible"

Same report, quite different conclusions: yesterday The Globe and Mail and Le Devoir gave front page play to a report on the eonomics of climate change, but from the headlines and the opening paragraphs you’d be forgiven for thinking the stories were about different documents.

A 20 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, compared to 1996, can be attained while experiencing economic growth, the report says, but it would not be as strong as “business as usual,” both newspapers agree.

Yet the Globe trumpets “Canada can meet its climate goals, but the West will write the cheques,” while Le Devoir writes, “Reducing GES by 25 per cent wouldn’t put the economic brakes on.” (Réduire de 25% les GES ne freinerait pas l'économie.)

If you read both stories, you’ll discover that they’re both right: Canada would have economic growth of 2.1 per cent a year over the next 10 years if it takes action, according to the report, which was commissioned by the Toronto Dominion Bank and conducted MK Jaccard for the Pembina Institute and the David Suzuki Foundation. But growth would be lower than otherwise in Alberta—oil sands country, remember—and Saskatchewan and the Atlantic provinces would also be affected. Growth under the considerably more modest Harper-government objectives would average 2.2 per cent annually across the nation.

This morning both The Globe and Le Devoir carry stories about Federal environment minister Jim Prentice calling the report “irresponsible.” Not surprisingly, his remarks getting bigger play in the paper out of Toronto than the Montreal one.

Here’s the link to the report itself: decide for yourself.

This is another example of "what you see depends upon where you sit."

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