20 April 2007

Grrr...conservative economists

Critics assail Ottawa's dire Kyoto predictions

Opposition parties and environmentalists yesterday accused the Conservative government of willfully overlooking the economic benefits of green technology to inflate the costs of reducing greenhouse gases. The critics also heaped scorn on the sinister predictions of Environment Minister John Baird, that Canada will have a severe recession if it fulfills its obligations to cut carbon emissions under the Kyoto Protocol. “Every time that a new measure to protect the environment has been presented, there have been resisters predicting doom and gloom,” Liberal environment critic David McGuinty said at a news conference. “The truth is that we can afford to deal with climate change.” He said the government “has an isolationist and defeatist strategy.” “This minister has put forward no analysis on the related positive economic benefits [of Kyoto],” McGuinty said. “In fact, he deliberately ignored those benefits that come from better energy efficiency, lower energy use and jobs related to the benefits of emissions reductions.” The issue also arose in Question Period in the Commons, where Prime Minister Stephen Harper reiterated his opposition to Kyoto targets, as all three opposition parties united to criticize the government on its handling of environmental issues. “This party has no intention of doing anything that will destroy Canadian jobs or damage the health of the economy,” Harper shot back.

A government-commissioned study released yesterday predicts 275,000 workers across the country would lose their jobs if Canada started attempting to cut greenhouse-gas emissions by one-third by 2012. Many plants would be forced to shut down, while energy bills and the price of gas would double, the study states. Those bleak predictions, endorsed by some of the country's leading economists, were aimed at discrediting a Liberal-sponsored bill that would force Ottawa to abide by its international obligations under the Kyoto Protocol. The report was also designed to prepare voters for the Tories' announcement of their own greenhouse-gas reduction initiatives next week. According to documents leaked to the news media, the Conservatives would bring the benchmark year for carbon cuts to 2006, instead of 1990, as prescribed by Kyoto. Under the Kyoto Protocol, Canada must reduce carbon emissions between 2008 and 2012 by 6% compared with 1990 levels, which amounts to a one-third reduction compared with current levels, the Tories say. “There would be just one way to make this happen: The government would need to manufacture a recession,” Baird told the Senate environment committee. But the report he presented also states that its calculations do not take into account the benefits of green technology infrastructure, or the jobs created by new investments in that technology. Neither does it consider the impact of monetary policies the government could implement to diminish losses. And, when pressed by senators, Baird was unable to present the figures the government used to forecast its bleak predictions. Critics also pointed out that the Kyoto Protocol provides for targets unmet to be transferred to post-2012 agreements.
(Globe and Mail 070420)

Why, oh why do we continue to take the words of economists to heart? They are as successful at predicting the future as anyone else. No, wait a minute, I take that back. In fact, they're worse than normal people because they always assume status quo when putting together 'effective' calculations and estimates. In the example above of the Conservative report that came out, there is absolutely no mention of the potential societal economic benefits, emerging technologies and positive sector spinoffs that would result from an attempt to reach Kyoto targets. The economists will say, "well, that's because we can't predict the future." Well, no shit Sherlock! Why should we believe the accuracy of your first report, then?

Economists are the ones that get us into these shitpiles all the time anyways. Like their models can effectively predict human behavior. Idiots.




Reid Dalgleish said...

Do we listen to the economists as prophets because they are involved in the most potent system of trade we have currently? Maybe because they can sell themselves very well as being the 'experts'? They can talk a very good talk.