A Wee Prediction About Copenhagen
The world will agree to a "framework" at Copenhagen. Maybe even sign an actual deal.
Here's Canada's loophole: The Conservative unnatural governing party claims it wants to penalize "polluters." To that end they have advanced cap-and-trade, to be imposed on industry rather than their fickle taxpaying electorate.
There are two problems with that:
First, if those financial penalties are imposed on companies, the cost of goods and services will simply rise by that much, plus a bit extra to reflect the cost of administering the new penalties, if any (whether the Conservatives are willing to slap on penalties with teeth remains to be seen, and I wouldn't hold your breath). In other words, the cash still comes out of the consumer's pocket.
Secondly: As I mentioned below, we're not an industrial nation anymore. Companies in Canada account for about half the pollution we emit. The other half is mostly from our cars.
There's a simple, market-based solution for this. However, it's not a Conservative-friendly solution. It's taxes.
Yes, taxes. Those things Harper's now considering re-raising as we slither along the economic trench in the wake of his economic stewardship (which has heretofore been comparable to the stewardship of Joseph Hazelwood on the Exxon Valdez).
It's simple: You tax crap that pollutes, and use the revenue to reduce the price of things that don't. Tax gasoline, pass the savings on to hydro or wind power. Tax heating oil, reduce the taxes on home heating gas. Increase incentives to buy energy-efficient appliances, drive cleaner cars, and build green buildings, decrease the incentives to buy SUVs, hang onto antique toasters, and live in poorly-insulated boxes.
But our Conservative government can't go that route. Look at how they demonized Stephane Dion's "tax-on-everything."
There's another solution of course: Elect someone else. Which I'm afraid is what we have to do ... if we can find someone else to vote for. Because the Opposition Liberals aren't making any noise about it, and the Bloc Quebecois doesn't care.