Robert Lyman is a board member of the Coalition of Concerned Manufacturers and Businesses of Canada and a former federal senior bureaucrat.
Few people in Canada seem to know much about the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO). The role is part of the Canadian government but it is not accountable to the elected government of the day. Rather, it acts as an independent source of economic and financial analysis to Parliament.
For those more familiar with the United States government, the PBO is roughly the counterpart to the Congressional Budget Office, provides independent economic analysis to the US Congress.
On November 8 of this year, the PBO published a report on the projected impact of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on Canadian Gross Domestic Product (GDP), looking out to the end of this century.
Its findings should have made headline news, considering its relevance to the government’s current climate policies. Typically, however, they went largely unreported or ignored.
I will not attempt to provide a simplified version of the complex methodology used by the PBO. I will though summarize what it found.
Under a scenario in which emissions reduction policies of all the governments in the world stall at today’s levels and no country meets the commitments it has made to reduce emissions further, Canada’s GDP in 2100 will be 6.6% smaller than it otherwise would be.
What would it otherwise be? Under the modest assumption that Canada’s GDP growth from 2021 to 2100 averages 2% per year, Canada’s GDP in 2100 would be 388% higher than it was in 2021.
So a reduction of that income by 6.6% would mean that Canada’s income will only be 381.4% higher than it was in 2021.
Wow! Fantastic news!
But wait, as they say in the game shows, there’s more.
Under a scenario in which all the countries of the world meet the commitments that they have made in their voluntary emission reduction plans submitted to the United Nations, then Canada’s GDP in 2100 will be 5.8% smaller than it would otherwise be, or 382.2% higher than it was in 2021. Still great news!
Is this unusual? Actually, no it is not.
Other authorities have attempted, using different methodologies, to calculate the projected effect of rising GHG emissions and temperatures on income.
The United Nations, in its AR5 Working Group II report, projected that by 2100 the negative impact on global GDP would be only 3%. So global income would only increase by 97% of what it would do otherwise.
The United States Congressional Budget Office, using its own methodology, projected that the effects of climate change will, on net, reduce U.S. GDP by 1% from its projected level by 2050. So, the PBO is more pessimistic than other sources, but still projects that climate change will have a negligible effect on future national income.
The PBO did not attempt to answer the obvious other question: How much will it cost Canadians, in terms of lost national income, if we destroy our resource economy and force all energy consumers to switch to expensive, scarce and unreliable wind and solar energy sources?
That’s the bad news. You haven’t read about that in the media, either.