The market knows best, except when it comes to green technology

2010-04-23

in Canada, Economics, Law, Politics, Rants, The environment

In another demonstration of how many conservatives are hypocrites when it comes to the environment, we have the sorry example of Canada’s billion dollar green energy fund.

Contrast these two situations:

  1. You oblige people to pay a fee when they emit greenhouse gases, and pay other people a reward if they can remove these gases permanently from the air.
  2. You set up a giant fund of cash, and give it away to some companies because they think they might find a costly way to maintain business as usual (carbon capture and storage) and then give the rest to whoever can get the most political traction.

The former approach demonstrates faith in innovation and market mechanisms. The latter approach suggests that the indefinite combination of government analysis and lobbying can somehow do better.

If we want to address climate change in a fair and effective way, we should be making firms and individuals pay the true costs of what their actions impose on everyone, while banning the most destructive activities. We should not be setting up weird mechanisms for political patronage.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Tristan April 24, 2010 at 10:29 am

Who thought conservatives believed in free markets?

Conservatives reject the principle of universality – this is why we often think they are hypocrites, but actually they don’t believe in hypocrisy. They believe in welfare for the rich, and tough love for the poor.

For many examples, see “Free Market Fantasies”
http://www.chomsky.info/talks/19960413.htm

. April 26, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Lobbying Loophole Watch: Invisibility, transparency — what’s the difference?

* April 26, 2010 1:46 PM
* By Kady O’Malley

In case you missed my earlier post, thanks to the Hill Times, we now know that Transport Minister John Baird actually designated –or, in the words of his office, “tasked” his parliamentary secretary, Brian Jean with “identifying potential candidates under the GIF [Green Infrastructure Fund] and forwarding them to the department for evaluation.” What we don’t know, however, is how many “potential candidates” may been aware that Jean was the first point of contact for the fund in question, and subsequently beat a path to his non-reportable-public-office-holder front door, because lobbying of parliamentary secretaries — as well as MPs and senators who aren’t also ministers, ministers of state or otherwise designated public office holders — does not have to be included in the monthly communications reports that lobbyists are required, by law, to file with the lobbying commissioner.

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