Blog /The Economics of Kyoto

April 15, 2005 03:08 +0000  |  Society & Culture Why I'm Here 0

As promised, I had some stuff I really had to talk about here regarding Kyoto:


I'm not an economist. In fact, I despise the whole profession. To me it seems the whole thing is based more on pseudo-science than anything else; cost of x goes up, demand for x goes down. Simplistic, sweeping and all too often based more on blind faith than anything else. There's a reason the "experts" at the Wall Street Journal have better luck predicting the economic future with darts then they do with their own speculation. I'm writing this from a "this makes sense" perspective and it comes entirely from actual research done by me. If you have a problem with that... lets hear an argument that doesn't come out of a text book.


There's a lot going on about Kyoto in the press lately. Most recently the Liberal party of Canada has finally stepped up to the plate with their very own plan. Even the Conservatives have decided that they like the whole idea and have denied ever having opposed it in the first place. You'd think I'd be thrilled to see all of this support (even if it is 5years late) but here's the thing: it's all smoke and mirrors.

In signing the Kyoto accord, Canada has promised to remove anywhere between 240 and 300 million tonnes of greenhouse gas from our annual output by 2010. That's a very big change for a country as small as ours, so how do our "leaders" suggest we do it?

Well the Liberals are taking $10million of our money, throwing that at it and essentially crossing their fingers. They've "invested" it in propaganda like the The One Tonne Challenge and all the while, they've reduced the industry reduction requirement for the program from 55 to 36 million tonnes. So lets do the math:

      240 million tonnes
    -  36 (industry)
    -  30 (every person in Canada actually doing the one tonne challenge)
      174 tonnes

Where's that 174tonnes coming from? They're going to buy it from other countries who started in on the plan 5years ago and are now enjoying the spoils of a less oil-dependent economy.

Now the Conservatives. They don't like the Liberal plan. Well they do, but they want to stretch it out over a longer period. In fact, they're so committed to Kyoto, that there's absolutely no mention of it (or the environment for that matter) on their website.

If you read my blog even semi-regularly, you know that the NDP actually has a comprehensive plan (pdf) endorsed by all sorts of environmental groups, so i won't go into detail here.

Now here's the rub: there's an election coming up and you're likely going to vote for either of these two rudderless parties because you don't believe that a party like the NDP understands how the world "really works". But think about this for a second:

The economy of oil is coming to a close. The economics of the next hundred years or more will surround one thing: energy. Who has it, who can get it, and who can afford to pay for it. Pretend for a moment that the environment doesn't matter -- because seriously speaking, no one in power seems to care about it anyway. Kyoto is still an important move for us and we have to do it right. When the oil runs out (and it will) nations that haven't figured out how to move on will be in serious trouble. By contrast, countries like Germany will be be in a position both economically and technologically to dominate the world energy market because they would have spent the last 30years moving in this inevitable direction. So where do you want Canada to be?

An election is coming up, and in all the campaigning you'll see both the Liberals and Conservatives paying lip service to their so-called support for Kyoto. Do the research, know the facts and then ask yourself if either of these guys are worth voting for.


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