Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Burn, Baby, Burn!

There's no need to worry about the environment. There's no need to let the free market actually work or anything.


Conservative Leader Stephen Harper unveiled his first pledge -- to halve federal excises taxes on diesel and aviation fuel within four years

Bloomberg says that we're talking about something like $600M in tax revenues the federal government is giving in order to encourage the use of fossil fuels.

I know you're the party of Alberta but does it really make sense, right when people are finally realizing that fossil fuels are a limited and polluting resource, right when people are seriously considering efficiency, conservation and alternatives in their everyday lives, to offer legislation that will set us back and discourage all the positive outcomes of high oil prices?

There's also this thing called the free market. I know the Conservatives only pay it lip service, otherwise they wouldn't be pledging money to reopen a failed auto plant in a disputed riding of Windsor, but doesn't it make sense to leave taxes where there are and let the free market teach us which fuels to use.

If you want to spend money, try putting it in to trains. They're cheap, fast and safe. There's already a national network from which to build.

But there's no money in trains, is there? There are no train voters, are there? No. It would just be the right, sensible thing to do, and we can't have that.

Recommend this PostProgressive Bloggers


janfromthebruce said...

I really like trains too, and wish that I could hope a train where I live to go to Toronto, for example. I live in rural Ontario.

Your free market principle though is a tad idealistic for me. You know the magic hand of the market and all. I have noted overly much that the market actually helps create desire for "wants". That is called consumption. The "market" actually encourages us to buy all sorts of crap, over consume. So I have a problem with the mythology of the free market.

On a similar note, there will be those (the many) who will not have the resources to switch their dependence on carbon products. Taxcuts at the end of the year will not be helpful, as they don't make that kind of disposible income to able to "wait."

Anyway, it was just some thoughts of mine that your post prompted to think and bring to mind.

Thanks for doing that!

janfromthebruce said...

It would be helpful to me as both a consumer and wanting to sustain sustainable communities, that for communities to make this transition to a drastically carbon reduced society that helping citizens through instant rebates and reduced costs to go "environmentally sustainable" would definitely get the public to thoroughly engage and reduce consumption and carbon inducing products.

I prefer carrots to the many sticks of the market. For example, if Canadians were really serious about reducing global carbon and our share, we would quit importing all products made abroad, and only buy more local, and Canadian products. That kind of sustainable community buying helps the globe as well as sustain local and the Canadian community to be sustainable.

Just some more thoughts your Burn, Baby, Burn article evoked. Thanks,

Greg said...

I never meant to actually suggest that I think the free market can solve all ills. That's a Conservative opinion that Conservatives frequently disregard when it suits them.

For myself, I think the free market works for most manufactured goods allowing those who build the best products in the best ways to benefit.

It utterly fails us for certain non-renewables (where a gov't can be bribed in to letting their resources go for almost nothing) and for things like health care and public education (where the profit motive is simply inappropriate or dangerous).

janfromthebruce said...

Thanks Greg for responding. I think that the market works for some non-renewables and not for others.

Water is also a non-renewable resource. I am of the same mind in that regard, as Council of Canadians.

I also think that any new buildings built should be built with the idea that oil will cost 500 bucks a barrel, and thus be built as passively as possible with building codes that enforce that. The problem is that the cost would be prohibitive, the way it is now.

So for example, my school board is in the process of building a new board office. Make no mistake, the trustees would love to built to the highest standard that is environmentally sound, and be a model of energy efficiency and environmentally sustainable. But the provincial government will only provide capital costs that cover the very low end of energy efficiency, and as a public institution we cannot go into deficit financing.

Essentially, adoption of neoliberal policies and the practices that flow through them, prevent and circumvent the public will and doing the right thing.