Monday, November 12, 2012

Pay Now Or Pay Later

The devastation which Hurricane Sandy visited on the American east coast has generated a lot of attention. So did Hurricane Katrina. But neither storm appears to have spurred legislators into action. And, in Canada, inaction is the name of the game. Matt Horne writes that, when the opposition proposed a nine cents a litre tax on gasoline, John Baird rose in the house and claimed that the tax would kill Canadian families:

That nine cents per litre — less than a dollar a day for the average Canadian family — could be the signal that helps flip the tables in favour of clean energy and gives government the resources it needs to invest in that transition. Applied to all fossil fuel combustion, the equivalent of nine cents a litre would raise $20 billion a year in government revenues.

When the government cheerfully announced it was withdrawing from the Kyoto protocol last year, it did so under the pretence of helping Canada’s economy. This conclusion ignored the simple fact that no economy does well when it is ravaged by storms, droughts and other extreme weather events. Canada’s true economic interest lies in finding global solutions to global warming — not in turning our back on the rest of the world.

Instead of trumpeting unfettered expansion of oilsands pipelines and mines, we need an economic vision based on a clean energy future for this country. Instead of allowing dirty coal-fired power plants to pollute the atmosphere until the middle of the century, we need to rapidly shift to the cleaner alternatives available today. Instead of squabbling over transit investments, we have to find ways to mobilize the necessary capital that will give people more reasonable, affordable options to leave their cars at home.

Baird's reaction was not surprising. The oil industry owns the Conservative Party of Canada. And, if the governing party gets its way, Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and their vengeful sisters will continue to kill all kinds of people.

One way or another, we're going to have to pay. The sooner we begin paying, the less the bill will be.

This entry is cross posted at Eradicating Ecocide.


Anonymous said...

Harper is selling us out to Communist China. Big oil isn't choosy, how nor where they thieve their money. Harper even gives his favorite charity big oil, huge sums of our tax dollars. How many times have we seen Harper, giving big oil huge tax reductions?

Little Bolivia, kicks big thieving, polluting corporations, right the hell out of their country.

Provinces should be as smart as little Bolivia and get the hell out of, Treason Harper's corrupt Canada. However, provinces prefer to pay Harper, for stealing from them and selling their resources and jobs out, to a Communist country.

Owen Gray said...

I continue to hope, Anon, that Canadians will give Harper his pink slip. Only time will tell if my hope is well founded.

Lorne said...

Owen, Accidental Deliberations published a blog post with a link to a piece by Naomi Klein written for The Guardian. In a continuation of the theme explored in her Shock Doctrine, she discusses the despicable attempts by the corporate rule both to profit from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy and to push an anti-union, low wage agenda.

Well-worth the read:

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

We are at least 40 years too late and even if we had done more then it probably would be too little. Politicians only think in terms of jobs over the short term and political action only from election to election.

On another matter, I thought you would be interested in this article which shows another small way the Harper government attacks potential enemies

Ironically, Amish and very conservative Mennonites do not vote at all, for that would be too much involvement in the secular world.

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, Lorne. Klein has been on this story ever since she published No Logo.

The Shock Doctrine laid the Chicago School strategy bare. And our prime minister bought it, hook line and sinker.

We should not be surprised that he peddles their brand of economic snake oil.

Owen Gray said...

And -- even more ironically -- Philip, some people think the Amish are behind the times.

It would never occur to their critics that they might know how the world really works,