This op-ed in the Globe and Mail depends in large part on the uncritical acceptance of the conclusions of a Fraser Institute report. So it might have been nice if the Globe had disclosed that the column's author, Gwyn Morgan, is both a serious financial donor to the Fraser Institute and a member of its board of directors. Perhaps if we spread a rumour that Morgan is secretly a political blogger, the paper's editors would take more interest in these things.
Let's take a quick look at one small part of Morgan's column:
Germany has given away $130-billion, mostly to solar-power companies. Yet solar power makes up a minuscule 0.3 per cent of German power supply, while doing almost nothing toward the original objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. In February, Germany's Minister of Economics and Technology, Philipp Roesler, announced a pullback from green-power subsidies saying the cost was "a threat to the economy."
It's true that Germany is making serious reductions to their feed-in tariff rates but Morgan makes it sound as though it's because the original policy was a failure. There seems to be another side to the story.
The government has explained its decision as a way of slowing the rapid growth in the sector, saying it was one of Germany's success stories, but had been allowed to grow too fast and had been too heavily subsidised.
Where Morgan claims that solar supplies only 0.3% of electricity in Germany, there may be another side to that story too.
The sun provides from 3.2% to - on sunny days at midday- up to 25% of Germany's energy.
As for Germany's GHG emissions, something has certainly reduced them.
Germany's emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) were 2.1 percent down year-on-year in 2011 at 916.7 million tonnes, as the impact of more renewable energy kicked in and mild weather cut heating fuels use, data from government agency Umweltbundesamt (UBA) showed on Thursday.
The emissions of six gases - widely blamed for global warming - were down by 26.5 percent from the reference year 1990, exceeding a target for Germany to lower emissions by 21 percent under the Kyoto climate protocol in that period.
I can't be sure whether I should be taking the facts and figures from the Guardian and Reuters at face value. More research would be in order before reaching a definitive conclusion. But I'm pretty sure I can't take Gwyn Morgan and the Globe and Mail at face value since Morgan's quoting a report he helped pay for without ever disclosing that fact.