17 April 2012

De apples and de oranges #nlpoli

You’d swear that provincial government departments had to hit quotas of good news media releases.

Environment minister Terry French issued one on Monday that claimed that the provincial government had beaten its greenhouse gas emission targets for the province.

Wonderful stuff.

And for what year, you may ask?


Stop and think for a second.  Two paper mills shut down in the province in 2005 and 2009.  The third one shut one of its two machines.  The Voisey’s Bay nickel mine was closed for a chunk of 2010 because of a labour dispute.

In the meantime, there wasn’t much in the way of new industrial activity.

There are also 70,000 few people in the province not driving cars and not running their wood stoves or burning oil to heat their homes.

So yeah, it’s not surprising that greenhouse gas emissions in the province dropped to levels not since for 20 years. 

Not content to let the good news go, French’s news release included this quote:

“We have witnessed significant real economic growth of 63 per cent since 1990, driven by offshore oil growth, at the same time that our emissions declined.   This represents a significant accomplishment for our province.”

Talk about connecting two things that are completely unconnected.  The economic growth he mentioned is due entirely to the increased prices for oil and some minerals produced in the province.  if we had opened a bunch of new manufacturing plants and dropped the GHG emissions, then there might be something to crow about.

The truth is, hitting that emissions target was relatively easy. And, to be sure, it had absolutely nothing to do with economic growth.

If you had to admit that, though, French and his comms director wouldn’t have been able to put another notch in the tally toward their quota of bullshite for the month.