More on BC’s carbon tax “review”

A few days ago, I had commented on a recent CBC news item announcing that the government of British Columbia was embarking on a “review” of BC’s Carbon Tax. The CBC’s record of providing useful links to back up its stories is far from sterling – and at the time of my original post, I was unable to find such a link. However, I am now able to remedy this:

British Columbians now have the opportunity to make written submissions to the Minister of Finance from July 1, 2012 – August 31, 2012.

The Minister of Finance and Deputy Premier is Kevin Falcon. Reader Morley Sutter has made a submission, which he has kindly permitted me to publish here. I have taken the liberty of slightly reformatting for ease of blog-reading.


From: Morley C. Sutter [mailto:xxxxxx]
Sent: July-01-12 7:58 AM
To: ‘kevin.falcon.mla@xxxxx’
Subject: Carbon Tax

Dear Sir:

The Carbon Tax should be scrapped. It ostensibly was introduced based on two premises: the belief that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere produces dangerous man-made global warming and the belief that we should reduce our dependence on fossil fuels (particularly oil produced by OPEC). The first premise is false; the second has been mitigated by the North American use of frakking to increase the availability of both oil and natural gas. The Carbon Tax is therefore both unnecessary and useless except as a revenue-earner for the Government. It is simply a cost to the populace.

There is little doubt that the average surface air temperature has increased – approximately 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1850 or 0.05 degrees per decade but the cause of this is unknown. CO2 also has increased over that period so there is a rough correlation between the rise in CO2 concentrations and temperature.

But correlation between two events never proves that one causes the other. The lack of correlation between two events indicates that they are causally unrelated.

The graph shown below shows the lack of correlation between atmospheric CO2 and temperature.

Temperature records versus atmospheric CO2

From the Norwegian blog

Superimposed plot of five different global monthly temperature estimates shown individually elsewhere. As the base period differs for these estimates, they have all been normalised by comparing to the average of their initial 120 months (10 years) from January 1979 to December 1988. Click here to go to the associated comparison of these five temperature records.

The heavy black line represents the simple running 37 month (c. 3 year) mean of the average of all temperature estimates (before 1979 only the three surface records). The blue graph shows the amount of atmospheric CO2 (Mauna Loa station, Hawaii, see also above). The heavy blue line represents the simple running 37 month (c. 3 year) mean of the monthly CO2-values.

The scale for atmospheric CO2 (right) is adjusted to display the CO2-graph roughly parallel to the 1975-2000 temperature increase. For the first two decades in the 21st century a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios according to the 2007 IPCC Summary for Policymakers (p.7 and Fig.SPM.5). Last month shown: May 2012. Last diagram update: 29 June 2012.

It is from the Norwegian blog “Climate4you” accessible at the following URL:

As you can see, there has been no significant warming since the year 2000. How can CO2 be the driver of temperature when the CO2 concentration rises without an accompanying temperature rise?

Yours truly,

Morley C. Sutter, MD, PhD.


A related footnote … in a subsequent story, apart from dutifully quoting a spokesman for the Suzuki Foundation (who, of course, contends that this tax is the greatest thing since sliced bread), the CBC chose to “balance” this view with that of Mark Jaccard:

a professor of environmental economics at Simon Fraser University, [who] believes it will take 20 years before the province can speculate on the success or failure of the tax.

“It would be shocking if a carbon tax had made a difference in a couple of years and it hasn’t,” he said.

It could be that Jaccard was attempting to atone for his silly antics earlier this year – not to mention his (previously) undisclosed conflict of interest, as noted by Donna Laframboise.

Hmmm … I wonder if Jaccard and his co-author Nic Rivers would care to debate the “findings” of Stewart Elgie’s latest fiefdom, regarding BC’s Carbon Tax. As I had noted, the Globe and Mail had dutifully reported (inter alia):

But in its report on the levy, Sustainable Prosperity says it has led to substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that are linked to climate change, but has had no negative impact on economic growth, as some critics feared.

Rivers, a co-author of Jaccard’s 2007 book – and then one of Jaccard’s grad students – provided “comment and review” on Elgie’s “report”, and is now evidently at the University of Ottawa and is also a member of Elgie’s “Research Network Committee” where he serves as “Co-Chair, Low Carbon Economy”.

Or perhaps Jaccard is merely a little behind on the apparent shifting of the sands of the environmental-activist paradigm from amorphous “climate change” – on the heels of Rio+20 at which it was barely mentioned – to the more conveniently encompassing (but equally ill-defined) “sustainable development”?!


3 thoughts on “More on BC’s carbon tax “review”

  1. The graph provided by climate4u is completely wrong. For one the base period is far too short, and when compared to the real UAH graph at Roy Spencer’s site, it is showing positive anomalies where none exist.

    Spencer’s boss at UAH, John Christy, has claimed there was no warming indicated in satellite data from 1979 till after the 1998 El Nino extreme. After 1998, there was a 0.2 C spurt in 2001 and the trend stopped. There has been no warming trend from 1998 till present, a 14 year period.

    A person should be highly suspicious of a mathematical analysis that changes the data in another analysis. The UAH data is not based on other data and depends only on its built in system of thermistors. When it shows 18 years of negative anomalies from 1979 onward, that means the atmospheric temps were below their baseline (average) from 1981 – 2010. Introducing a shorter baseline in order to introduce other data sources is wrong and does not show what is actually happening.

    One should note that the UAH satellite data shows only a 0.2 C average warming in 30 years. The graph provided is showing little in the way of that and suggests a warming of up to 0.4 C which is plain wrong. You cannot adjust data upwardly by changing the goalposts.

    • David, All of what you claim may well be the case; however, I think you could have expressed it more courteously.

      But, more importantly, in my view the graph presented by Dr. Sutter in his letter was for illustrative purposes – and serves this purpose quite well.

      The issue here is that there is no empirical evidence in support of the claim that human generated carbon dioxide is the primary “cause” of any warming that may (or may not) have occurred in our atmosphere.

      Yet it is this unsubstantiated claim on which the imposition of our “carbon tax” (and all the accompanying inane rules and regulations) has been based. All in the name of the UN’s ill-defined and ideologically driven “sustainable development”.

      Let’s keep our eye on the ball, here!

  2. I offer the following comments about what Mr Robertson wrote. Perhaps he did not read, ignored or did not understand the following explanation of the graph as appeared below the graph in the blog “Climate4You”:
    “Superperimposed plot of five different global monthly temperature estimates shown individually elsewhere. As the base period differs for these estimates, they have all been NORMALISED by comparing to the average of their initial 120 months (10 years) from January 1979 to December 1988. Click here to go to the associated comparison of these five temperature records.” (My emphasis of normalised).

    Normalisation allows comparison of different graphs or other measurements when they are covering different time periods or use differing units of measurement. A simple example would be to compare insect size to some common object such as width of a finger nail. Since the graphs were normalised to a new standard time period their shapes were bound to be changed from their original ones. But the normalisation allows and is necessary for graphs to be compared with one another and to be presented together.

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