Monday, August 24, 2009

What Are They Smoking Now?

It ain't easy being green, making Canadians feel badly about the Tar Sands. I could have had a comfortable job like Ben Eisen, earning a living working for the Frontier Center For Public Policy, helping Canadians feel good about themselves. ( ) The Tar Sands may be spewing megatons of carbon dioxide into the air but it's really OK because Canada's "emission intensity" has decreased.
Gosh, I feel better already, knowing that Canada has gotten much more efficient at contributing to global warming. Let me guess.... The Frontier Center For Public Policy wouldn't be funded by any oil companies would it? Nah. After all they're at the frontier of public policy, and have nothing to do with the nasty corporate back rooms where they're pulling the strings on government energy policy.
Reminds me of a story I once heard. Remember "light cigarettes"? Not so long ago the big tobacco companies spent millions in an effective campaign to confuse the public and delay governments from regulating what has turned out to be a very carcinogenic product. During those times some marketing genius thought up the idea of "light cigarettes" - cigarettes with less nicotine and tar. The idea was that if smokers knew that tobacco caused cancer they might be enticed to smoke a product that appeared to be safer. Instead of quitting, they could feel less guilty and better about themselves by smoking something "safer". It turns out that light cigarettes were just as likely to cause cancer as ordinary cigarettes because smokers unconsciously smoked them more intensely and therefore received equivalent amounts of nicotine and tar as if they had smoked regulars.
It's no coincidence that the global warming delayers are talking about emission intensity instead of "crude indicators such as total emissions" of carbon dioxide. Why not recycle a clever idea when you don't have anything good to offer in the first place.

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