Two images caught my eye in the past few weeks:
- First was this ↑ ~ wind turbine blades being stored in a sort of landfill because they cannot be recycled. There was a similar image of solar panels which, likewise, cannot be recycled. Each has a real, not terribly long, service life. Each creates real recycling problems. Are they really green?
- The second was this ↓ ~ it is a picture taken from an in-store display which shows a soft-drink bottle recycled, first, by shredding and then, in another step by spinning and, finally being made into a T-shirt which can be worn. That does look pretty green to me.
There can be very little doubt that global climate change is a serious problem and it is one that Canada, and every other country, must do more to address. The question is” how much more of what? Is banning single-use plastics helpful or does it exacerbate other problems bought on by the pandemic? Are new carbon taxes helping combat global climate change or just hurting those who are least able to pay? There are many, many legitimate questions about the many different directions in which Prime Minister Trudeau, who seems, to me, to be marching near the head of another children’s crusade, is taking Canada.
It seems to me that the Conservative Party of Canada needs a consistent, coherent suite of policies that address global climate change. That suite of polices may need to have a way to put a price on carbon because most Conservatives should believe that the market is the best way to allocate scarce resources. A carbon tax that aims to change our individual behaviours, for example, might be very acceptable IF it does not disproportionately punish the poor. If a carbon tax is administered like the HST, i.e. we, consumers pay it all, and we see it, too, with every transaction, then perhaps it can, dollar-for-dollar cause reductions in the HST or remove hundreds of thousands of the lowest income working Canadians from the federal income tax rolls. A Conservative plan to combat global climate change should say, explicitly that it is unacceptable to import oil from e.g. Iran and Saudi Arabia in tankers that pollute our waterways …
… and those who say that it is not socially acceptable to build pipelines to get Canadian oil into home heating tanks and gas stations will have to find, very quickly, alternative ways to heat homes or drive to the shopping mall.
A Conservative climate change policy will recognize that fossil fuels are on their way out … but not by 2030, probably not by 2050, either. We will need and want to use less and less of them over time, but what we do need should be produced in Canada and transported by the least harmful ways. It will recognize that we need a reliable, clean, green way to heat our homes and recharge our electric vehicles. That, in Canada’s case, is more likely to be nuclear energy than it is solar or wind power and it will also recognize that there are environmental costs to cardboard containers and to reusable shopping bags and implements. But, and this is a big and important BUT, a Conservative climate change plan must be realistic and effective and must pass muster with at least a goodly minority of the green community. That means that it must have the right mix of both substance and style ~ and, in early 21st century Canada, the later might be even more important than the former.