Wildrose Alliance Maintains Quality of Conservative Science in Alberta Political Debate
On November 1, Alberta’s Progressive Conservative government (no, it’s not a joke name, and many of them live in Valley Ridge) introduced Bill 24, the Carbon Capture and Storage Statutes Amendment Act, into the provincial legislature. The bill aims to clarify that subsurface pore space into which CO2 is injected and stored is owned by the Province, who will monitor all storage sites and perform any necessary remediations using a new fund levied from CCS operators. The bill goes hand in hand with the government’s Carbon Capture & Storage Initiative, under which $2B has been earmarked to subsidize corporate carbon storage projects -- the biggest government-funded CCS scheme anywhere.
Like climate science, Bill 24 has in its passage through the legislature been subject to much debate -- a lot of it of similar quality. Although the provincial Liberals cautiously support CCS, they argue that the bill places a potentially large liability on Alberta taxpayers and complain that it takes away landowners’ property rights (although they neglect to mention that whatever originally filled the pore spaces the government now says it owns was never the property of the landowners in the first place). Much more opprobrium has come from the new faorce in Alberta politics, the Wildrose Alliance.
Alliance deputy leader, energy spokesman and Calgary-Glenmore MLA Paul Hinman, the only Wildrose MLA to have actually been elected as such (we blame confusion; many Glenmoronians are understood to have thought they were voting for a staffer at the nearby Wild Rose Brewery), has waxed apoplectic about the bill and says the Wildrose MLAs intend to filibuster it as it is read through the legislature: “our bottom line is that this bill needs to be stopped and we’ll talk until we’re blue in the face”. Regarding the CCS initiative itself, he’s even more penetrating: “if we really want to spend some money let’s have a world-class research department that looks at the validity of CO2 and whether it’s plant food or a toxic chemical.”
We congratulate Mr Hinman -- he’s obviously a studious reader of FoGT! We have in the past commented on the validity of CO2 (we believe it doesn’t exist -- our logo is the G2T molecule, two atoms of gin and one of tonic); on the plant- and animal-nourishing properties it would have if it did exist; and on the toxicity of this hypothetical gas. We’re pleased that Alberta’s politicians, especially the more conservative ones, are so dedicated to keeping up with the latest science on what is, after all, a product of Alberta’s largest industry. They, like us, evidently view it as far too important to risk seeming stupid about.