I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Monday, January 18, 2010

We Don't Pay Enough for Electricity?

From the Globe and Mail:
We are paying too much for green power dreams and we are paying too little for electricity.  ....the first reason for higher consumer prices in Ontario is that the green Energy Act is committing Ontarians to high costs for green power....consumers are not bearing the environmental costs of fossil fuel-based electricity. We can only reduce our carbon emissions when there is a price on those emissions, either from cap-and-trade or from a carbon tax.
What?  Does this make sense?  In his opening line, the writer suggests that green power dreams are too costly - but, nevertheless,  Ontario Hydro customers are not paying enough for their electricity.  And yes, in theory, consumers should pay for the costs of fossil fuel based electricity .  In theory, we should all be accounting for the environmental costs of our decisions instead of offloading our pollution onto society and future generations.  (Perhaps asbestos companies would have made different choices if their shareholders had born the full costs of asbestosis among their workers.) Attaching a price to carbon emissions is not the only way to reduce them:  has the writer never heard of rationing? The writer did create his report on electricity pricing for the C D Howe Insitute: that may explain his non-mention of rationing.  Pricing carbon leaves the richest amongst us merrily emitting  carbon  - regardless of whether that  tips the climate over the brink. Wasn't  it Audre Lord who said  "The Master's house cannot be dissassembled using the Master's tools?"  I don't think the climate crisis can be solved by the same kind of thinking that got us into the mess in the first place... and , after the Great Recession of 2008, hasn't the ability of the free market to fix all of our ills been discredited?

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