April 25, 2004


The `fatal conceit' of Kyoto (KEN GREEN, Apr. 25, 2004, Toronto Star)

A suppressed report by the federal government evaluating the effectiveness of spending $500 million since the year 2000 to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases has shown — surprise! — that the spending was largely wasted, producing neither a reduction in gas emissions, nor the development of new "cleaner" technologies.

An anonymous source that participated in the mid-term review is quoted in the Star, saying, "We seriously underestimated the difficulty of getting reductions and overestimated the payoff from new technologies."

How did the government manage to blow $500 million of taxpayer money?

It put it into "Action Plan 2000," which committed $210 million to promote technologies that reduced greenhouse gas emissions in industry and transportation; it gave $125 million to cities to encourage them to use the non-existent new technologies.

And another $100 million was spent on promoting foreign demand for the non-existent new technologies.

The lack of value Canadians received for their half-a-billion dollars should come as a surprise to ... well, nobody.

Governments are notoriously bad at "inspiring" development of new technologies and encouraging their adoption.

The idea that government can inspire the development of new, beneficial technologies is an example of "industrial policy," a type of governmental steering of industrial development thoroughly discredited outside the halls of Ottawa.

Industrial policy relies on what the Nobel Prize-winning economist Frederick Hayek called "the fatal conceit," that somehow, government planners have special knowledge that markets, investors, and industry lack.

There but for the GOP landslide of '94 go we.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 25, 2004 7:55 PM

The Kyoto protocol: the greens anwer to Y2K...

Posted by: MG at April 25, 2004 8:58 PM

Let's see, $500 million loonies, here, $2 billion loonies, IIRC, for the gun registry, a few more billion loonies to shore up their NHC and we're talking real money.

And what do they do??? Switch to lighter gas for their fighter jets - it freezes at a higher temp. And shorts their armed forces something fierce so most of their trucks are ready to fall apart.

But, what can one expect when one's ruled by rejects from frogistan?

I still say make Alberta an offer it can't refuse.

Posted by: Sandy P at April 26, 2004 1:41 AM

Watch it Sandy, those rejects are my ancestors!

Posted by: Robert Duquette at April 26, 2004 7:09 PM

I was going to say that C$500M doesn't sound like much when it's only a fourth of what it cost to register the guns of the notoriously lightly-armed (compared with us) Canadians.

The key phrase for Orrin in that report, though, was "non-existent technologies."

Those are the ones we're going to use instead of the gasoline engine.

Posted by: Harry Eagar at April 27, 2004 1:17 AM


Exactly. The proper way to go about it is to just tax the hell out of emmissions.

Posted by: oj at April 27, 2004 8:00 AM