Thursday, June 19, 2008

Green Shift: The Plan Is In...

Mr. Dion made public the Liberal "Green Shift" Environmental-Tax Cut Plan today. On the surface the plan seems pretty straight-forward... Shifting taxes from consumers - particularly via significant income tax cuts. The "lost" taxes will be made up by taxing pollutants - in particular, coal. While consumers MAY (key word: "may") see some bits of inflation, they'll receive more than adequate dividends from the income tax breaks. Heavy consumers would be more affected than people who consume very little. If someone on a low income uses public transportation, they stand to have savings as well.

Stephen Harper's only - very partisan - response was to jump up and down and cry, "liar, liar, pants on fire..." Without any significant plan of his own, Harper is left holding a very empty bag. Experts the world over have rejected the Conservative "non-plan". Everyone can read through Harper's sham/ruse: He is purely a shill for Big Oil and Alberta special interest groups...

The Liberal "Green Shift" is being praised by many environmental groups AND the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (amazing, that). This is definitely the right plan. Some argue it is not the right time. We would have to argue, if not now, when? Opponents claim that gas prices are too high right now, and consumers are being impacted. These arguments ring hollow. Gas prices will continue to rise - as they have since gas was a fuel. Sure there may be price wars and very short-term drops (for a week or two). Besides, from analysis it appears automotive fuel prices will be impacted very little - if at all. Home heating costs may go up, but those costs will be made up by the tax cuts (heck, if you OWN a home, you are undoubtedly paying taxes). There are bound to be further breaks for being green.

What excites me about the choice being in the consumers' hands, is that now we can seriously consider alternatives. I'm already planning solar panels for my pergola in the back yard. This will power all my yard lights and my ponds, with power to spare. This is in BC. In colder areas - with more sunlight (Alberta, Sask, Man., Ontario, Quebec), the solar alternative will save consumers millions. I'm also plotting out a geothermal heating alternative, and already have a high-efficiency heat pump in my home. I've insulated at R40 - way beyond code for BC. All consumer-driven measures to save energy. One other thing I do: use pine beetle-infested firewood in my wood-burning fireplace. Energy savings galore!

The public will have a good read of the plan, and will hear about it all summer long. Anything Mr. Harper does now will look like a desperate measure, and an afterthought. The whole idea now rests on the "marketing". I really do hope that we are able to sell this, as it is the ONLY plan out there, and it is the only workable one. If we sell it correctly, we should be able to garner votes from almost anyone who is even remotely environmentally concerned.

The planet is sending us "signals" which we must heed - for the good of the human race, and all the other species on it. Deniers only have one argument - that global warming is cyclical, BUT they refuse to believe the science pointing to the effects of huge man-made changes. When the Alberta oil industry continues to suck millions of liters of water out of the earth - just to "push" oil out - and the Bow River Glacier is going to disappear in less than 10 years, WE HAVE A PROBLEM. This problem is man made (or exasperated by man), when you look at examples like the Bow Glacier, or when you look at the dying off of entire species of Amphibians. The ONLY party that is going to take responsibility - and accountability - besides the citizenry, is government.

It is time for us to act. Now, not later.

2 comments:

ted said...

Have a look at solar hot water before solar photovoltaic (electricity generation). You get more energy savings, and greenhouse gas reductions for your buck.

We make them in Canada!

WesternGrit said...

Thanks Ted! I'll look into it...