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The Financial Crisis and Harpernomics: Bad Climate Policy is Here to Stay

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While my computer spins away churning out some carbon capture and storage modelling numbers, I was scanning the news and it struck me: the good times are here to stay! That is if you are working in climate policy. For everyone else, it seems to be all doom and gloom. Not sure why? Let me explain.

Uncertainty leads to questions that need to be answered and importantly inaction. With this comes a need for more talk, more time and more money to navel gaze. Crass I know, but true. And two events are conspiring to make climate policy uncertainty enter the stratosphere and inaction become the renewed climate policy watchword: the financial meltdown and subsequent economic train wreck and Harpernomics.

Lets start with the financial train wreck. With all the financial doom and gloom one can’t help but project that climate policy, and certainly anything that actually reduces GHGs, will grind to a global halt. That well worn Affordability ace will again be played and it will trump all thoughts of action. And instead of learning that short term thinking and economic gain is bad (dah how did we get here?), we will instead retreat further into short term thinking. See this interesting Boston Globe Article here.

The fiscal crisis on Wall Street is a painful lesson in how entire industries can delude themselves into ignoring the most fundamental issues – in this case, the hidden risks from subprime mortgages. It also reveals the vast pitfalls of an economic system obsessed with short-term gains and growth at all costs while ignoring essentials such as building long-term shareholder value and protecting the future of the planet….

The result will be a halt of current plans, or at least a considerable slowing, which will mean the last 10 years of learning will be lost and we will need to start all over again (or at least start somewhere new).

And What Can I can about the Prime Minister’s new climate policy….well perhaps I will let some one else say it instead:

I have never heard of such a poorly considered policy in my life.

(see here)

If the oil patch was nervous before, they all just called their therapist, or their favorite climate policy consultant…..

So, while I should be rejoicing at the growth field that is climate policy, I am actually totally disheartened. A simple and strait forward carbon tax with recycling to households and business would make this all go away. We would get something done, at a reasonable cost, while containing the upside risk. But instead, we will get fights in the WTO and NAFTA over half baked policies that are perceived to resonate in Tim Horton’s. Trouble is that double double may just be a little more expensive than a simpler alternative. But then again it’s not a tax! Pass an Apple Fritter.

Written by Dave Sawyer

September 29th, 2008 at 9:35 pm

One Response to 'The Financial Crisis and Harpernomics: Bad Climate Policy is Here to Stay'

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  1. .

    tnx for info!!…

    Daniel

    29 Jul 14 at 7:33 pm

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