Posted by: jmtoriel | February 28, 2008

End the subsidies!

The minority Conservative government just came out with their budget this week and Flaherty was certainly not wearing green shoes…. They did subsidize the car manufacturing industry and reduced taxes for big business– again! They also scrapped a poorly implemented ecoAuto Rebate Program awarding consumers who bought more fuel-efficient vehicles. Why? This discourages competition and less-impactful consuming habits. Ford, Chrysler and GM expect hand-outs to appease the jobs and keep the large revenues, but they are putting out crap and practicing poor management! Instead of reducing waste and building smaller than standard cars with better fuel efficiency and technologies, they are keeping with the status quo and whining at the possibility of changing CAFE standards to be more like Europe or Japan. Why should they be rewarded?India has now put out a very affordable car (Tata’s Nano) which has a MUCH lower ecological footprint than N. American manufactured vehicles — and yet we’re all up in arms over the possibility of millions of Indians and Chinese driving around like we do and putting up protective barriers.I don’t feel North American (conservative) governments are allowing a level playing field for smaller car companies, like ZENN (Zero emissions, no noise), to provide a viable plug-in electric alternative. The latest car shows were MAJOR disappointments. Meanwhile, oil reserves dwindle, prices go up (but still WAY cheaper than they should be without subsidies — ever been to Europe?), devastation in the Alberta tar sands is at an all-time high (now the largest carbon emitter on the planet!) and people complain. Throwing $300 million to the nuclear industry is hardly a green solution… We need to tax what’s bad for us and give incentives to what’s good. Hence, the whole point behind carbon offsets. The BC budget was a good start (however, they increased subsidies to more oil and gas projects). The BC Carbon tax is a very good start. But, it didn’t go far enough according to what science is indicating must be done to reverse the trends.Incentives to buy organic AND local are the way to go. Again, if there were no subsidies for cheap toxic diesel for massive cargo ships, we wouldn’t be eating broccoli from China now would we?… End the subsidies. Why pay the wealthiest companies in the world to deplete our resources (including massive amounts of water), make crappy vehicles that diminish our well-being and health by polluting our air??Tax dollars could be spent more wisely (more public transportation, bike paths, greenspaces, greener building practices). Increase revenue neutral carbon taxes to $30/ tonne (instead of $10) rising to $50 with a complimentary federal carbon tax while reducing income and payroll taxes. Join the emissions market by implementing a universal carbon cap and trade system. Reward greener consumers with rebates on truly efficient vehicles. As for energy, we need a fee-bate system encouraging growth in renewable energy. Then, we’d be well on our way to recovery.

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