7 07 2015

Subject: Re: NOFRAC Let’s put carbon pricing to work for us

I’m not so much a great fan of carbon pricing.  It’s sort of like, “no one is going to commit the crime unless they can pay the fee.”  Yes, we need to reduce our carbon usage drastically and as soon as possible.  But making carbon more expensive without providing/funding an alternative just puts a heavy burden on the poor who already can’t afford to heat their homes or drive their cars.  There are people out there who are already choosing between food and heat, because they can’t do both.

We are consuming so much gasoline, not because people want to pollute and destroy the planet, and not because gas is cheap.  It isn’t.  People use it because there are hardly any electric cars out there and there is no infrastructure for recharging them.  That’s all it would take, because the public already knows that clean energy is better.  The people who don’t know are the psychopaths who own the oil companies and don’t care about anything but their profits which are in the trillions of dollars, worldwide. They have the politicians on their side and they even start wars to secure their access to Middle Eastern oil.  They don’t care.

So instead of subsidising oil, we should be subsidising wind, solar and tidal energy, (clean energy)!  Why add a carbon tax when the federal government is already throwing subsidies at oil companies?  Cut those first!  Most importantly don’t tax carbon to reduce it’s use without giving the public a viable alternative.  It only stresses the people more because you know all expenses will be passed on to the end consumer who will be sitting there saying, “What do you expect me to do?”

Warm Regards,

Fred Williams

I look at Fred’s response with a different slant and probable scenario.

Those of us who have been around long enough and thought about things way back then, saw the landscape as Fred described it 30 to 40 years ago. We wanted change then and succumbed to lack of  financing and bought the argument that the green technology was too expensive. We sat on our thumbs and waited. We earned where we are at today for the younger generation. History (human nature) does repeat itself.

Today the same basic scenario (of evils) prevails, but we now have a greater public understanding of the folly of our previous ways and are starting to accept that we actually do have a problem with some urgency to resolve. The real upside to bringing this old  problematic scenario into today’s time frame is we now have multiple technologies that are capable of being competitive and better than fossil fuels. Especially if you figure in all the indirect “hidden” costs of the petro lifestyle  —- like rising sea level remediation, pollution cleanups, lac Megantics, health costs etc, etc.

The Petro monopoly/cartel has no interest in creating a competition for themselves, but will and already is buying into the rival technologies as they become viable and developed enough to be considered a turnkey operation. They can buy out the competition & keep all the revenue stream and control the relative pricing of everything.

The Nova Scotia example of wind power in the last ten years or so has seen a rapid evolution of enterprising entrepreneurs forcing their way into the power market with NS Power stonewalling them every inch of the way, later collaborating with them, then creating revenue irregularities with the asset of time on their side until the original startups found it more astute to sell out than hang on. In a very short period of time NSPC has acquired all the best wind power sites in the province, making it that much more difficult for a new competitor to attempt to enter the market. Already NSPC has had an instance where wind power was able to supply half the needs of the entire province for a short period of time. The potential is there, we already gave it away to the monopoly energy provider. We already gave away the farm on large scale wind power  —we will not see rate reductions for this cheap power. We will be told over and over how much fossil fuel was not needed while the profits go to the investors and not the consumers. That’s all part of a legacy insanity of privatizing the provincial utility which I will leave for others to cover.

Like Fred I have an aversion to paying more taxes. However I have to admit my own personal performance over the years has been most productive under TOUGH LOVE circumstances. That is what it will take to get the ball rolling either at a municipal, provincial, or federal level and most importantly the personal level. I see carbon taxing as a fast track method of starting the greening of the energy field if properly managed. Managed is the important word here. As soon as you create a large revenue stream there will be a stampede of the usual big time trough feeders falling all over themselves to get at it to gain control of it and serve their corporate interests.

My view is that all the big one size fits all projects will not get us where we need to go.

First off we need to ensure that the revenue stream of carbon taxing NEVER goes into general revenue! It must be disbursed only for a fossil fuel reducing (preferably eliminating) project.

If the subsidized projects were targeted to individual home owners, smaller apartment complexes, and modest sized unincorporated businesses, then the spinoff effects in our local NS economy would be considerable. The potential installation projects for so many homes and businesses would create huge numbers of job opportunities. Vast amounts of manufacturing opportunities would also appear.

From a strategic standpoint the first jurisdiction in any region to start small scale green initiatives would have a financial advantage of the already operating service businesses, while other jurisdictions take time to fall in line with petro elimination.

It is entirely feasible in the next five years to create residential solar projects capable to recharge most electric powered cars entirely. With appropriate supplemental recharging at destination depots, the entire province would be accessible in a short time period. In that same time period the marketability of electric cars would be established, and initial purchase price would fall quickly as competition developed simultaneously. Such an initiative could reduce the gasoline consumption in Nova Scotia by half in a very few years — all from the revenue stream previously spent on petro products. Now there will be competition in the transportation energy field enough so that the oil business will fight back to be competitive. Try as the oil business may to maintain their market, once electric cars gain entry, it will be a matter of very few years before the oil business will look like the horse carriage business. During the transition period the solar power can be used in the household or fed into the NSPC grid to off set inbound power charges.

The key to keeping the big money interests from stalling this inevitable switch is to keep the redistribution of such a tax in small diverse increments such as individual households. It also would be an excellent place to channel a surtax on the 1%ers, and a levy on big corporations based on gross revenue not on net profit which so often is manipulated to pay no income taxes at all.

The working poor where the carbon tax would have the harshest consequences can be compensated with a tax rebate.

In short proacative small family targeted subsidies for green energy production at the expense of fossil fuel consumption will make a difference for sure in a short period of time. We can’t wait another generation. Power to the people, not the corporations!

Pat Vinish




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