Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Time For Tax Cuts?

A measure of Harpo's sincerity on global warming can be found in his finance minister's disclosure of further tax cuts in the budget the government will table next month.

If the government does plan to tackle GHG emissions this is the time for it to be filling the government's coffers, not emptying them. The job it has pledged to undertake isn't going to be cheap, far from it.

Like almost any major initiative, tackling global warming is going to take regulations and incentives. It cannot succeed unless the private sector and the general public can be brought to support it. Without achieving an adequate level of support from industry and the public, what remains except punitive legislation?

Cutting CO2 emissions requires sacrifice from all sectors of society. The impact of that sacrifice is going to vary considerably. There are some industries, for example, that may require temporary help in the forms of loans or grants to convert systems and adopt new technologies to cut their GHG emissions. It's not realistic to expect companies that are already marginal to meet GHG targets without some assistance.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's talk about tax cuts and other aspects of his budget suggests the global warming issue isn't even on his radar. If Harpo was sincere about this it would be obvious in Flaherty's priorities.

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