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…environmental economics and the implications of environmental policy

Wal-Mart and Climate Change Expectations

with 24 comments

Ok, so I am back …. not sure why I left….

Below is a unedited version of a Letter to the Globe I submitted (see Here).

Standing in Wal-Mart, looking around at the Halloween mayhem, I realized just how bad it is. No, it is not consumer confidence, because the lineups were 15 deep, with all manner of folk clamoring to spend. And no it is not the brinks and mortar economy, because the shelves and isles were positively chocked full.

No, I realized that our expectations are all wrong. We expect mounds of cheap stuff to be available and ready to take home in a moments notice. And yes, we expect someone to cart it away once it crumbles shortly thereafter. And herein lies the real root problem with our Wal-Mart expectations — disposal.

All this junk has to be made, shipped, stored, bought, taken home and then dumped. All of it except for the soft bits that hit the sewage facility and then the river. And all of this activity emits carbon and other nastiness, loads of it. But no matter, the greatest trash heap of them all, our atmosphere, is handling that for free.

So, standing there in the Wal-Mart mayhem, it became clear to me that at the root of the Globe’s editorial response to the so-called “landmark climate change study” is Wal-Mart expectations. Labeling the report’s economic conclusions as “devastating” fits well with our collective expectation that we expect more for less. Or even better, we expect a free lunch.

But are we worse off with action to manage carbon and other environmental nastiness? Based on the report, I think not. Even with aggressive action on climate change as outlined in the report, and no linked permit trade with the United States to reduce our domestic costs, Canada’s economy will still be much larger than today. All economic sectors will increase in size and wealth, including that great Canadian cash cow, oil and gas. Under aggressive climate action, even Alberta’s economy is still a third larger than today.

In this “devastated” economic future, Canada will all be richer, Wal-Mart will be bigger and we can all buy more stuff.

So are we better off with action on climate change? Economically we may be marginally worse off, but our wellbeing is so much more than just economics. For starters, the growing trash heap in which we all live in may be a little smaller. And that, my friends, may just make us all better off.

Written by Dave Sawyer

November 2nd, 2009 at 2:32 pm

24 Responses to 'Wal-Mart and Climate Change Expectations'

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  1. .

    hello!…

    Ruben

    30 Jul 14 at 1:43 pm

  2. .

    tnx for info!!…

    russell

    22 Aug 14 at 2:31 pm

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    Francis

    23 Aug 14 at 2:31 pm

  4. .

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    brett

    23 Aug 14 at 8:25 pm

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    harvey

    26 Aug 14 at 6:21 am

  6. .

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó….

    Gerald

    16 Nov 14 at 4:35 pm

  7. .

    good info!!…

    Darrell

    19 Nov 14 at 8:18 am

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    martin

    19 Nov 14 at 11:32 am

  9. .

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    Bernard

    19 Nov 14 at 6:57 pm

  10. .

    ñïñ….

    Dwayne

    19 Nov 14 at 8:07 pm

  11. .

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!…

    scott

    20 Nov 14 at 8:10 pm

  12. .

    tnx!…

    Gene

    23 Nov 14 at 2:52 am

  13. .

    áëàãîäàðþ!…

    fred

    24 Nov 14 at 2:48 am

  14. .

    thanks!…

    robert

    26 Nov 14 at 12:40 am

  15. .

    ñïàñèáî….

    Glen

    26 Nov 14 at 11:31 am

  16. .

    hello!!…

    lawrence

    26 Nov 14 at 12:41 pm

  17. .

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    dean

    27 Nov 14 at 6:16 pm

  18. .

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    jerry

    28 Nov 14 at 3:09 pm

  19. .

    ñïàñèáî çà èíôó!…

    Eugene

    29 Nov 14 at 9:31 am

  20. .

    tnx for info!…

    hector

    30 Nov 14 at 4:01 am

  21. .

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    Brad

    30 Nov 14 at 7:30 pm

  22. .

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    billy

    12 Dec 14 at 10:07 pm

  23. .

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    michael

    13 Dec 14 at 2:50 am

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    angel

    14 Dec 14 at 2:49 pm

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