Both are wrong-headed policies, of course, since both put a theoretical price on emissions of carbon dioxide, thereby artificially inflating the overall cost of most of the products we use in our daily lives. And, either way, we consumers lose, for businesses will be passing along their added costs through a cap-and-trade mechanism, or we will be paying governments a carbon tax to reflect the theoretical cost of carbon dioxide emissions.
Canadian Liberals love to latch on to anything they believe US President Barack Obama favours, so they’ve decided this time they’ll try cap-and trade. The fact that cap-and-trade has been a failure in Europe seems lost on Michael Ignatieff. European countries created their version of the scheme back in 2005 and it’s been a disaster there, failing to lower emissions across Europe and sending consumer prices higher without corresponding increases in real value. To top it off, the carbon credit markets have been beset with fraud. Some, of course, are getting rich with scheme, but the environment isn’t benefitting because of it.
Below the border, cap-and-trade has bogged down in the US Congress. Should we proceed and they decide against adopting cap-and-trade, our oil and gas industry and other manufacturers will be placed at a significant disadvantage vis-à-vis those in United States. Mr. Ignatieff, nevertheless, seems determined to push a cap-and-trade system down our throats—like Stéphane Dion before him, Ignatieff just can’t wait to get his hands on all that government money cap-and-trade will generate for him to use on social programs that he hopes will buy the Liberals a long stay in office.
The Liberals are not to be believed on any of this stuff: Jean Chrétien, in his 1993 campaign version of the Liberal “Red Book,” unrealistically promised a 20 per cent cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2005. He did nothing whatsoever of any substance to meet that commitment—it was an empty promise. Then Chrétien signed on to the Kyoto accord, ratifying it in 2002 and pledging to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by six per cent from 1990 levels by the commitment period ending in 2012. First Chretien and then Paul Martin again did nothing to meet that commitment—they virtually ignored the fact Kyoto existed. And by the time the Conservatives won office in 2006, Canada’s emissions had actually risen by 24 per cent, leaving the Tories with no hope at all of achieving the Kyoto target by 2012, even had Stephen Harper wished to do so.
So much for reducing green house gas emissions and stalling global warming at the expense of human achievement and advancement—it’s mainly smoke and mirrors. I am for real pollution control. That is, I favour reducing those emissions that actually harm our health and cost real lives every year. I’m for improving our environment and our quality of life.
I like Lorrie Goldstein’s suggestion in the Toronto Sun. He says:
“We need a made-in-Canada policy focusing on clean air, safe drinking water, cleaning up toxic waste dumps, safely disposing radioactive waste, tougher vehicle emission standards, boosting research into practical ‘green’ energy sources such as natural gas, putting scrubbers on coal-fired electricity plants and creating more national parks.”That’s common sense—something in short supply over at Liberal headquarters.