If Trudeau’s Climate Policy Seems Absurd, That’s Because It’s Not Actually About Climate

  • Date: 21/08/18
  • Matthew Lau, Financial Post

The fastest increases in prosperity and cleanliness in human history were supported by private industry, not corporate welfare and green subsidies.

“Around the world, businesses, governments and experts agree that carbon pricing is the cheapest and most efficient way to cut carbon pollution,” recently tweeted Catherine McKenna, Canada’s environment and climate change minister. If what she says is true, it means all other anti-carbon strategies — including regulations and subsidies — are unnecessarily expensive and inefficient.

Yet just a few months earlier, when McKenna announced $100 million in green subsidies to Ontario households and businesses, she said that the spending “pays for itself by saving money, reducing carbon pollution and making our homes and businesses more comfortable and affordable.”

Has her position changed or does she still believe Ottawa’s subsidy programs and corporate welfare remain an efficient use of tax dollars that will somehow pay for itself?

McKenna’s $100 million supported the previous Ontario government’s climate spending program. However, the evidence shows us that the billions Ontario Liberals had slated for climate spending was a massive waste.

A recent essay by University of Calgary economist Trevor Tombe estimated that money spent to “improve energy efficiency in multi-tenant residential buildings” was 29 times more expensive, per tonne of emissions reduced, than cap and trade. And “support to household adoption of low-carbon technology” was about 15 times more expensive.

It turns out that just as the budget doesn’t balance itself, the government’s green spending doesn’t pay for itself either. While Premier Doug Ford is sensibly axing Ontario’s climate-spending fund in an effort to drag public finances back in the right direction, the Trudeau Liberals are forging ahead with handouts to rent-seekers.

In just the past few months, federal tax dollars have been torched on everything from corporate welfare for farms in P.E.I. to enlarging the Alberta Indigenous Solar Program, to homeowners’ windows in New Brunswick to making Ontario’s college and university campuses more energy efficient.

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