Where’s the carbon tax for the Number One GHG emitter in the world?

I don’t know about you, but I find magicians annoying. I mean, pulling a rabbit from a hat? I’m convinced magicians are either active or former politicians.

In recent reports, I have attempted to give some kind of guidance on medium-term price forecasts for crude oil, diesel, and gasoline prices. This, as you know, is not an exact science due to the fact that some of the variables are the illusive rabbit in the hat.

One ominous and looming variable that is not contained in any of my forecasts, is the new carbon tax factor, which may be cleverly hidden in Quebec’s current cap-and-trade formula, which the less than imaginative Ontario government thinks is just wonderful. Or maybe it’s hidden in the B.C. modeled straight carbon tax, which is itemized as a separate entity on all fuel invoices.

Speaking of hiding, unless Prime Minster Justin Trudeau takes his job a little more seriously, the provinces and territories will be dictating to the Federal government the direction, or dare I say, directions the country will take on GHG emissions. Believe me, once the provinces have their carbon plans in place they will hang on to these tax grabs and resist all attempts by the Feds to cancel or modify them – leaving Ottawa no choice but to compound the problem by piling on their own “national” cost of carbon.

Call me a dreamer, but isn’t it useless to have a carbon plan in this country when Canada doesn’t even show up on the global greenhouse gases (GHG) Most Wanted posters? Does the U.S. have a carbon tax? Errr… no, not yet. Err… maybe once we have a new president.

How is it that we haven’t heard carbon mentioned even once by the masses supporting the two dubious front runners for the position of president of the largest GHG emitter in the world?

Ah, but wait. The G20 meeting is being held in China for all of 48 hours on September 4 and 5. And China is Number 2 on the GHG list, after the USA.

Want to bet how much time will be spent on carbon emissions and a global carbon tax? At the last meeting this was allocated all of 20 minutes. We’ll be lucky to get 25 minutes this time around. Jeez the group photo alone will probably take an hour and a half!

For the period of August 24 to September 6, the Chinese government has ordered limited production from the petrochemical, oil, iron, and steel industries. Petrochemical plants that were running at 99% capacity in July have been cut to 70% in August. All oil refineries have to cut back to 50% capacity.

I guess these carbon reducing efforts will enable the G20 members to actually see each other, which from my viewpoint is the point of the meeting.

No hat, no rabbit this time, just the same old annoying magicians.

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Roger McKnight is the Chief Petroleum Analyst with En-Pro International Inc.
Roger has over 25 years experience in the oil industry, and has held senior marketing management positions responsible for national and international accounts. He is the originator of the card lock concept of marketing on-road diesel that is now the predominant purchase method of diesel in Canada. Roger's knowledge of the oil industry in North America, and pricing structures has resulted in his expertise being sought as a commentator by local, national, and international media. Roger is a regular guest on radio and television programs, and he is quoted regularly in newspapers and magazines across Canada.

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