Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cap and Trade

Much is now being made on the promise of the NDP to institute a 'cap and trade' to deal with carbon emissions in Canada. There are a number of voices that are speaking out against this plan stating it is a bit of madness and will only hurt the economy and do nothing for the environment.

That's not my problem with the scheme. If that was the only issue, that is was opposed by those on the right I would not feel against it. I know that I'm standing against a lot of green political philosophy, but I feel I am correct in this.

My main problem with cap and trade is that I'm not at all confident that it will actually do anything to solve the problem. The number one problem is that it keeps the carbon based economy in place, yes it wants to lower carbon emissions, or does it. The idea is that governments will set the cap that it will allow all industry to release into the environment. The belief is that the governments of the world will set the cap lower and lower with each passing year. Those industries that are above the 'cap' will be penalized by a 'tax'. Some call it a carbon tax, I realize that's not for the entire project, but it exists as part of the plan. Of course there is always a loophole and that is the second part of the phrase 'trade'. If company 'A' is a large polluter they could always buy the credits from a energy efficient and a clean energy company, so company 'A' can keep on polluting because its not doing anything to harm the overall cap of carbon. To make sure this happens, there's got to be a way to buy the credits and of course there are various markets that will do just that.

There is a very interesting documentary called "The Story of Cap and Trade", there is a teaser:

There is a few other problems and here are my thoughts,

the moment you make a tax on a thing you effective remove any incentive to get rid of it. This is especially true with governments, for so many years governments have told us that taxation is a way to change attitude and behaviour. The primary is the so called 'sin tax', this is special taxes and levies on things such as cigarettes and alcohol. After all the taxes on these items I am sure you will agree the taxes have worked, consumption of both have decreased dramatically. The actual answer is 'not at all'. Governments know that no matter how high they put the tax, they make more money, in fact the few that decide to quit don't put a chink in the armour of money made through these taxes. In fact, it is in the vested interest of government for people to keep smoking and drinking because they get more money. Yes put the taxes up too high and it will encourage smuggling- think the smoke shacks on the Six Nations Reserve. However for the most part, people will keep buying cigarettes. It is in the best interest of governments, therefore, for people to smoke and keep smoking. As for alcohol, think of how the Liquor Stores have changed from places to restrain the purchase of alcohol to the fun places to go to buy your spirits. They want to encourage the sale of alcohol because the more sold means more money and more for the coffers of the government. Now take this same mindset and turn it into carbon taxes, it is in the interest of governments to perhaps tinker with the amounts of carbon emissions on an annual basis but it will maintain a carbon economy because the money is there to be made. Let's get back to cigarettes, everyone agrees smoking is bad for your health, this is given. It is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt- to the point of, is the government was truly serious and this is a suggest I heard a long time ago, they should declare cigarettes dangerous products and not for consumption by people. A person who said this suggested that for those who simply can't quit smoking and the government should make quit smoking strategies free to those who need them, would be to make them available through a prescription. I know there would be those who would argue that smuggling would go through the roof, well, let it be. One of the purpose of governments is to protect society and there are a lot of things that are declared dangerous to human consumption. We don't allow arsenic our food, we don't take those foods that contain arsenic because its that dangerous.

So now the government catches onto a huge source of money, cap and trade. It makes them money- which ultimately comes from all of us, since corporations pass on their cost to us. What incentive is there to get rid of carbon emissions, none, because it brings in revenue. Who knows, will we see statements such as 'Pollute Responsibly'? After all, that's the notice in Casinos and Liquor Store, there is no attempt to stop, rather enjoy so you don't harm yourself and others.

There is nothing to inspire the work to get the planet off the Carbon Economy. Forget cap and trade, we need to re-think how we run this planet. What is the dynamite energy source that is clean and green? I know some may think or say, that is the purpose of cap and trade, providing funds for future inventions. Yeah. Right. We need to kick this diet of fossil fuel and find the next source of energy.

Do we need cap and trade? In my mind is no, it is only a masquerade that looks good but in the end hides what always has been and changes nothing.

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