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The Greens are right: Use economic clubs to battle climate change

From Friday's Globe and Mail

Use economic clubs to battle climate change ...Read the full article

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  1. jiri Z from Canada writes: If the proposed gasoline surtax gets completely offset by reductions in "other taxes" then the measure is ineffective for all but the lowest IQ holders!
  2. Cymro yn byw yma Canada from Canada writes: Mr Simpson writes. "The Greens also insist that Canada should reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2040. Canada doesn't need anything that dramatic". Compare this with Mr Layton's Bill (C-377) which compels the government to set out INTERIM greenhouse gas emissions targets, at five year intervals, culminating in a legislated commitment to an 80% reduction in Canadian greenhouse gases below 1990 levels by 2050. Which unliked the Green's harsher suggestion is quite doable in my opinion and is not "that dramatic".
    Any complete and fair discussion on this subject SHOULD AT LEAST MENTION the NDP's suggested policy as stated in Mr Layton's private member's bill, oughtn't it?
  3. Concerned Observer from ONTARIO, Canada writes: Mr. Jeffrey Simpson writes: (1) "If there's one issue on which Greens should be heard, it's the environment." And adds imperiously (2)"... the existing political parties and governments don't get environmental issues. " Did he read Mr. Dion's 3-pillar platform??? In the other statement he claimed: (3) "This is bold stuff, and better than anything on offer from the other political parties. Some of it, however, is too ambitious. The Greens, like the other opposition parties, are convinced that Canada can meet its Kyoto targets by 2012 without seriously damaging the economy." (4) They are wrong." Canada will not, cannot and should not meet its Kyoto target by 2012 of reducing emissions 6 per cent below 1990 levels when the country is already at about 35 per cent above that target." Reduction of GHG emission will have to be a joint effort of many professional groups, including both engineers end economists. They should determine the feasibility of meeting the Kyoto 2012 targets - not such otherwise respectable columnist, as Mr. J.S.. But those professionals need a leadership initiative. They need a word of encouragement, plus some means and incentives from the highest level politician, who will ask them for advice in reaching as much as possible of that target in as short time frame as possible. An honest, country-wide leadership manifesto would do the work. There is an urgent necessity for such an initiative - "...the existence of humanity is at stake." And our wasted Renewable Energy resources are colossal. Just in the wind power we are believed to be the second windiest country in the world - just behind Greenland. But ahead of Russia, USA, Brasil, etc. Is our coutry's top polititian willing and bold enough to demonstrate such a leadership initiative?
  4. Vic Hotte from Kettleby, Canada writes: Jeffrey Simpson sees the sense in tackling greenhouse gas emissions with economic policies. Economic policies always seem to have the answer, even though they are theoretical and completely human-driven, as if the entire world was designed exclusively for humans. A divine theory. Then, Mr. Simpson summarizes "Canada's particular challenges of economic growth, growing population, cold climate, long distances and non-renewable energy resources." Non-renewable energy resources are a defined limit for all human economies ... we have reached Hubble's Peak, so we are on the declining slope now. Our cold climate supports a boreal forest that acts as a storehouse for indigenous species, as well as an efficient carbon sink, so it should be preserved, not destroyed for timber nor mined for finite mineral resources. Here is Canada's self-imposed federal difficulty: growing population. Left to their own devices, Canadians are not over-populating the nation. Our government chooses extremely high levels of immigration to 'grow' the population, resulting in destruction of agricultural lands and forests for housing/industrial/institutional/manufacturing developments. People also want cars, home heating, and air travel. As a result, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions have skyrocketed over the last two decades of enormous immigration levels. Canada wants to have more of everything, including an enormous forever-growing economy and population, plus more forests, clean air and water, abundant native species of plants and animals. Canada cannot have what its politicians wants. Let's aim for population stability and preservation of the indigenous species associated with our northern geography. Stop aiming at growth forever --- although our politicians share the same growth goals as cancer cells, the health of the entire organism (or society) is put at risk when limits are ignored. Politicians want to be the 'leaders' of the biggest economies and the most people. Stupid goal.
  5. Vic Hotte from Kettleby, Canada writes: Human economic policies and goals got us into this quagmire. We might use economic policies to get out of it, but this sounds a lot like digging faster and deeper in the same hole. Our economic fantasies need a complete make-over and paradigm shift.
  6. Jeffrey Biggs from Hamilton, Canada writes: Mr Jiri Z,

    You're sadly ignorant on this issue. These sorts of policies have been very effective in other states (i.e. UK). You raise taxes on processes/goods that emit GHGs and lower taxes on things that don't. In this way, you give industry the ability to lower their own tax burden by decreasing their emissions. In practice, everybody loves it: emissions go down and (over time) so do taxes. It works, and economists have been arguing for it globally for 15 years. Unfortunately, Canadians have their head's in the sand on taxes.
  7. Stephen LaFrenie from Toronto, Canada writes: Yes the Greens have it right. We need to change the way we think about the world and how we act in it. Society has gone through many dramatic changes and it will survive this one if we employ the same will and faith that our grandparents and great-grandparents did throughout most of the last century. Our political leaders don't have this will anymore and the media is almost virtually useless when it comes to speaking about the issues. Jeffrey Simpson says that it is ambitious. Good. It should be. We should pursue Kyoto not try to water it down out of convenience and yes we may not make it but we will have successfully changed the direction of the country for the good. That good being a sustainable environment and society based on balance and pursuit of quality of life not quantity of material things. It will also expand to contribute to a much more secure world where people don't live in fear of being crushed by western greed and arrogance. Melodramatic? Look around at the true state of the world. The unnecessary violence, starvation, oppression, ignorance. It is our attitude and arrogance that creates this world and it has to change. Canadians don't live in isolation as they seem to want to think. They contribute directly to the conditions of the world as it is. We live under a delusion of privilege and entitlement. There are flaws in the Green policies as there are flaws in all the parties. The major difference is that the Greens along with the NDP have a solid vision of sustainability that encompasses all levels of Canadian society and our place in the world as leaders. The point is that Mr. Simpson himself and many in the media just doesn't get it. The boldest and most necessary move Canadians need to make is sending deceptive liberal/conservative thinking to the political wasteland and bring in more Greens and NDP thinkers into the government.

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