The Ontario Liberal Climate Change Strategy has been released, but it seems more like a giant privatization scheme with “Climate Change Strategy” accidentally printed on the cover. The private sector were quick to applaud the massive subsidies. Even car makers are liking the plan – since it basically subsidizes new car purchases.
The focus on subsidies and penalties (read cap and trade) is based on the flawed notion that the private market, with just a few tweaks, can save the world from catastrophic climate change.
A subsidy for purchasing new, expensive consumer-level products (electric cars), will not affect CO2 emissions as much as needed. This is because the Liberal’s strategy is focused on the floundering ranks of the affluent middle class. While this strategy will buy votes for the Liberals and support those who can afford $30,000 cars (even with the subsidy), it does little for the majority of workers who still rely on public transit or cheap gas cars (when transit is not an option) to get to work.
There needs to be public policy options offered as part of this discussion so the public (and legislators) can actually compare the costs and effectiveness of different climate change policies. Unfortunately, the Liberal government seems intent on completely ignoring the public options that currently exist and that have been successfully implemented elsewhere.
Instead, their “strategy” is to privatize transit, energy generation, and other public assets while throwing money at private investors and hoping that they will invest it correctly. This tactic has never succeeded in mobilizing the type of economic shift the Liberals are hoping for.
There is also the Long-Term Energy Plan, which is not so long term since this is now their third plan in nine years. It is a shell of legislation that does little for sustainable energy generation but rely on the markets to find the “best” way forward. It seems that on this the Liberals have essentially given-up.