Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Ottawa Has It ALL Wrong on Kyoto

I am not persuaded that global warming exists (though I expect it does) nor that it is caused by burning carbon-based fuels (though I suspect it is, in part), nor that it will become a problem (but I realize it might); for more on these issues, let me recommend Taken by Storm, by Chris Essex and Ross McKitrick, available here.

But if Canada is going to honour its commitments under the Kyoto Accord to reduce carbon emissions, it is going about it the wrong way. See this in the Globe & Mail (reg. req'd) for a summary of Ottawa's proposals. The gubmnt is proposing tax credits and subsidies for those who use and develop energy-efficient technologies.
Ottawa is considering a five-year package of more than $2.4-billion in carrot-like tax incentives and subsidies as a means of convincing business and consumers to curb Canada's output of greenhouse gases under the Kyoto accord, documents obtained by The Globe and Mail indicate.
This is another example of gubmnt intervention and risk of taxpayer money that is backwards. It presumes that politicians can pick the winners better than individuals risking their own money in the market can. It also builds and feeds a bureaucracy that is unnecessary.

My proposal is to tax the snot out of carbon-based fuels and let the market react by developing, producing, and adopting more fuel-efficient technologies and products. It would be considerably more efficient.

And to all those who claim they need special help or tax breaks, I reply: if burning carbon-based fuel is bad for the environment, you are not covering the full costs of doing so unless you pay this tax.
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