Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Coyne's theory on the 20% reduction by 2020 announcement...

We'll have to see if tomorrow's announcement clears things up, but Andrew Coyne has an interesting theory about what the wording of Baird's announcement of a 20% reduction in GHG emissions from today's levels by 2020 actually means.

The long and the short of it is that Cayne suspects that what Baird might have said was NOT that the plan calls for emissions to be 20% lower than they are today by 2020, but that the plan calls for a reduction of 20% of today's levels (a 150 Mt reduction) to the level that emissions are PROJECTED to be at in 2020. So, not 20% lower than today's level 13 years from now, but lower 13 years from now (by 20% of today's levels) than what the levels would be if we did nothing. Coyne points out that a "reduction" calculated this way could (almost certainly WOULD) actually mean HIGHER emissions in 2020 than we have today.

I can't imagine this is so, but we'll see. (Can the Tories be that stupid???)

If the announcement means that emissions will be 20% lower than today by 2020, then the Tories have committed to getting our emissions down to basically 600Mt by 2020. If it means emissions will be lowered by an amount equal to 20% of today's emissions, from where they'd be otherwise, emissions are almost certain to be ABOVE today's level (of 750Mt) in 2020. Kyoto, basically calls for Canada to reduce emissions to 563Mt over the average of 2008-2012.

I look forward to tomorrow's announcement. I think getting to 600Mt by 2020 might actually sway some voters versus Kyoto's (simplified) 563Mt by 2012. Kyoto's been damaged enough PR-wise that I think a lot of people might think a reduction from 750Mt to 600Mt by 2020 is good enough, compared to a reduction from 750Mt to 563Mt by 2012, given all the scare tactics surrounding what implementing Kyoto would supposedly cost.

If Coyne's right about what the announcement really means though, then I don't know how the Tories can spin this.

"750 to 600 by 2020" sounds somewhat reasonable next to "750 to 563 by 2012".

"750 to (750+X) -150 by 2020" most certainly does not. Especially since "X" is almost certainly more than 150.

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