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May 2007 - Nr.


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At Least One Chicken

In Every Pot

by Dan Jamieson

 The freshly minted Tory environment plan takes over where the Liberals left off – talk a lot and hope no one will notice that you aren’t doing anything.

As a corollary the Liberals always liked the phrase: "Whenever possible make the environment serve the economy. Whenever that is not possible, stick your head firmly into the sand."

Mr. Baird seems to have studied the Liberal playbook and has used it to come up with a green house gas plan for all people, except maybe David Suzuki.

Intensity based targeting is an idea that has industry excited. The Alberta Tar Sands developers, for example, are expecting to triple their production in the next decade. With intensity based targeting they can increase their greenhouse gas emissions by almost two and a half times and through the magic of intensity based targeting, have done their bit to slow global warming according to the Tory Plan.

For many industrial producers intensity based targets are not an incentive to decrease emissions. Rather they are an incentive to increase productivity. Given the cost of the new technologies needed to reduce emissions it may prove cheaper to increase productivity and trash some of the result rather than decreasing emissions. But the industry will be able to hold its head high, saying it did its bit in the fight against global warming.

The vast majority of voters will be able to change their light bulbs, feel like they are doing something positive for the environment and make no sacrifices whatever. Some people are so enthusiastic about this idea that they are driving their SUV’s to Wal-Mart by the thousand to stock up on energy efficient light bulbs.

This gives a short-term fillip to the light bulb manufacturers and a longer term benefit to the makers of reading glasses.

The main beneficiaries of Mr. Baird’s plan, however, should be the poor and homeless.

The plan requires the establishment of a Green House Gas Credit Bank, which will broker the exchange of credits for excess reductions with those who haven’t bothered to reach the targets.

The homeless and the poor should be able to make substantial claims against this fund. Without cars, homes and other energy consuming devices they produce practically no greenhouse gas emissions.

As with most government schemes this one comes with a catch. As soon as people start to spend the payments they receive they will undoubtedly begin to produce emissions and will have to pay the money back into the fund.

This will create a boom for pawnbrokers and loan sharks.

The environmental plan is not all about money of course. For those who like word-play there will be the task of coming up with acronyms for the agencies that will be created to service the legislation. My colleagues and I have been trying to come up with a name for the acronym GAS BAG but were discouraged when told that the name is already taken by Minister Baird.


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