12/05/2006

The Liberal Environment "Plan"

There is an interesting article in the National Post today about Dion's plan for the environment.
Now I know the Liberal's can't possibly win the next election.
I sat around the Cabinet table from [Stephane Dion] and I can tell you, he couldn't balance a cheque book." That was the view of one former Liberal minister who is now professing undying devotion to his party's new leader.
Dion's victory is inevitably going to mean much greater scrutiny of the man and his abilities by a media and Conservative party playing catch-up. Michael Fortier, the Public Works Minister, said on Saturday it means his party will have to explain more clearly Dion's record as environment minister.
Already we have seen the Tories wheel out the recent Environment Commissioner's report, which suggests Canada will be 35% over its Kyoto target by 2012.

So, the Conservatives who are apparently so anti-environment, will actually be 35% OVER their target in less than a mere 6 years. Interesting. I wonder what the Liberal plan could be, since it must be so much better.
"On the whole, the [Liberal] government's response to climate change is not a good story," said Johanne Gelinas, Commissioner of the Environment, pointing out that Liberals allocated more than $6-billion in funding for initiatives without any method of accounting for performance or results.
It's only a matter of time -- say, right now -- before someone asks why Dion is so keen to bring back comedian Rick Mercer's One Tonne Challenge but has taken a pass on the only measure that has proven effective in reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- investment in more nuclear energy. Emissions from Ontario's coal plants dropped 12 million tonnes between 2000 and 2004, entirely because four laid-up nuclear reactors were returned to service, by far the biggest reduction since Canada signed on to Kyoto. Dion's position is to instead invest in alternative and renewable energy sources.

Bring back Rick Mercer? That's their big plan? Hmmm. There must be more.
But perhaps the biggest worry should Dion ever become prime minister is an apparent blind spot for the workings of the market. The new Liberal leader holds a doctorate in sociology but has never held an economic portfolio. Judging by the sections of his environmental plan that touch on the economy, it's just as well for Canada.
Dion's plan -- a recycled and updated version of the Liberals' Project Green -- envisages an emissions trading market, where companies are allocated a cap on their emission levels by the government. If they exceed their limit, they can offset those emissions by buying credits from the government for $15 a tonne. This market would be in place until 2012, when the price would float.

Maybe I am missing something here.
Comapanies will be given an emissions cap. They may not exceed this cap. If they do, instead of being fined or forced to close, they may simply buy credits to increase this cap. The credits will cost $15 per tonne. I am curious to know how much power and emissions that actually is in practice. Still, I don't see how allowing companies to buy credits is going to solve an emissions problem. Wouldn't larger, and likely more polluting, companies simply be able to buy as much as they want and make no change at all in their behaviour... which I thought was supposed to be the point of an environment plan?
Dion has stuck with this plan, even though the Liberal government's own consultants warned that major emitters would hoard the credits

Yes. That is what I thought.
and wait until the price rose, at which point they'd make a killing at the expense of the taxpayer.

And this is precisely the problem with most Liberal plans. Instead of fixing anything, the Liberals simply dump the problem onto the lap of the taxpayer. This means I'd have to shell out yet more money to pay for a problem that I didn't create and have nothing to do with. The rich wankers who own these big, polluting companies are entirely unaffected. This is yet more proof that the Liberal Party is the party of the rich. They have no care or concern for the common citizen.
But Dion's tin ear for market realities goes further. Under his plan, not only does the government play a role allocating the quota of emissions credits and act as the seller of those credits, it is also the biggest buyer in the market, through the establishment of the Climate Fund. Dion billed this $6-billion pool of taxpayer cash as "the cornerstone" of his carbon market, buying "carbon equity" in emerging green technologies proposed by companies. "In effect, the Climate Fund will become Canada's carbon bank," says Dion's leadership campaign platform.
The new Liberal leader's office maintains that the government's role as the setter of price, supply and demand was only meant to help launch a carbon market and provide liquidity in its early years.

Hmm. This doesn't sound totally legal to me. In any case, it certainly isn't completley kosher. What would be in place to prevent the Liberals from benefiting their rich, polluting-business owning friends?
But critics contend that this level of intrusion would distort a carbon emissions market beyond feasibility. "It's a completely unmanageable conflict of interest," said Aldyen Donnelly, a consultant who advises companies on how to respond to government regulation.
"The government would be the Bank of Canada, the Royal Bank, and the Royal Bank's biggest customer all at once."

So, the answer to my question would appear to be "Nothing. Nothing at all. In fact, that is exactly what is likely to happen under the proposed plan."
The only saving grace with this arrangement is that the Competition Bureau would probably have intervened and jailed all involved for indulging in anti-competitive behaviour.

I thought it sounded illegal.
That is being facetious -- just. But it does not bode well for what Dion would do to the rest of the economy were he ever to become prime minister.

No kidding.
Like I said already, Dion is indicative of everything that is wrong with the Liberal Party.

1 comment:

Attila said...

The the big bad oil company contiues to pollute in exactly the same way, then simply buys more credits and downloads the cost to the consumer.

Sounds great :(

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