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The `fatal conceit' of Kyoto, canada wastes $500 million.
The Star ^ | 04/25/04 | KEN GREEN

Posted on 04/25/2004 2:58:07 PM PDT by Pikamax

The `fatal conceit' of Kyoto

KEN GREEN

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.

One of our better Canadian examples of the fatal conceit comes from British Columbia, with a price tag very similar to Action Plan 2000.

In a fit of industrial policy, the B.C. government decided that it had to shorten the crossing time between Vancouver Island and the mainland, by building three new, high-tech ferries.

After years of cost overruns, the ferries were a dismal failure, and B.C. taxpayers wound up soaked for $450 million.

Examples from abroad are even more spectacular.

For decades, the Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) was responsible for industrial policy in Japan's high-tech sector.

Analyses of MITI's performance showed a dismal failure to usher in new technologies or to create new industrial sectors in electronics, aircraft, aerospace, and biotechnology.

Worse yet, MITI was shown to have slowed the free-market development of these sectors when their activities were found to be at odds with planners' desires.

In 1953, for instance, MITI tried to block Sony from getting into the transistor business. Fortunately, for those of us who watch television, Sony managed to get MITI to back off.

A third example of the fatal conceit comes from California, a state with environmental policies that many Canadian activists want to emulate.

In 1991, the California Air Resources Board passed a "zero-emission vehicle" mandate calling for 10 per cent of vehicle sales to be "zero-emission" (battery electric) by 2003.

At the time, agency planners assured everyone that their initiative would "force" the creation of new technologies, and millions of dollars poured into battery research and subsidies for the few people willing to buy overpriced and underperforming battery-electric cars.

Carmakers, forced to plow more than $1 billion into attempts to please the planners, failed to develop a market-ready battery electric car.

As money flows into Kyoto-implementation programs, auditors are finally getting the information they need to show its futility. And it's not just in Canada.

European Union members are having trouble coming up with emission reduction plans in the face of escalating cost estimates, and EU Energy and Transport Commissioner Loyola de Palacio has implied that the EU may have to reconsider its implementation of the protocol altogether.

Meanwhile, countries around the world are pointing out that Kyoto emission targets are simply unattainable.

Norway's greenhouse gas emissions are far above their targets. Spain and Germany have expressed reservations about being able to meet their Kyoto targets without economic dislocation.

And despite numerous attempts to bribe Russia into signing the Kyoto Protocol, Russia has called both the science and economics of Kyoto into question.

The $500 million that the government has already wasted is only a taste of things to come unless Prime Minister Paul Martin walks away from Kyoto.

Canada has already spent or allocated $3.7 billion on climate change boondoggles of various sorts, and is planning to throw another $1 billion from the sale of Petrocan into the same pit of bad policy.

This is an industrial policy that Canada can do without.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Dr. Kenneth Green directs the Centre for Studies in Risk, Regulation, and Environment at the Fraser Institute. He is the author of Global Warming: Understanding The Debate, a high school textbook recommended by the U.S. National Science Teachers Association.


TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: climatechange; globalwarming; kyoto
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1 posted on 04/25/2004 2:58:08 PM PDT by Pikamax
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To: Pikamax
Unfortunately Canadians seem to love pouring their money down the funnel drain of socialism. Nothing breeds success in the Great White North like failure.
2 posted on 04/25/2004 3:01:19 PM PDT by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: Pikamax
Long live the Austrians.
3 posted on 04/25/2004 3:04:19 PM PDT by kcar (Who would OBL vote for?)
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To: goldstategop
Bizarro World alert! A country that lies under snow and ice most of the year wants to prevent global warming.
4 posted on 04/25/2004 3:05:13 PM PDT by BigBobber
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To: BigBobber
Yeah, you got that right.
5 posted on 04/25/2004 3:06:55 PM PDT by Former Proud Canadian
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To: Pikamax
LOL......snigger....cough.....LOL
6 posted on 04/25/2004 3:10:33 PM PDT by McGavin999 (Evil thrives when good men do nothing.)
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To: Pikamax
D'oh! Canaduh!
7 posted on 04/25/2004 3:12:45 PM PDT by clintonh8r (Vietnam veteran against John Kerry, proud to be a "crook" and a "liar.")
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To: Pikamax
That would have been another $500 million Cananda could have wasted on its "gun registry". What a sick, sick place.
8 posted on 04/25/2004 3:25:37 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: BigBobber
You may recall, too, that Canadian coal-fueled electricity-generating companies were also accurately targeted as the main cause of the death of Andirondac lakes and streams due to acid rain that lowered the pH of the water and killed off fish and water plants. I am definately not a greenie (so please, no flames), but the evidence against the Canucks was devastatingly true in this case. I'm not sure if the lakes in Upper NY state have ever recovered. Does anyone have an update?
9 posted on 04/25/2004 3:34:23 PM PDT by Paulus Invictus (4)
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To: Pikamax
This article is about wasting taxpayers money, what is this donig in the article?

Carmakers, forced to plow more than $1 billion into attempts to please the planners, failed to develop a market-ready battery electric car.

I'm suprised it didn't mention the big dig.
10 posted on 04/25/2004 3:38:35 PM PDT by stylin19a (is it mogadishu yet ?)
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To: stylin19a
doh......
donig=doing
11 posted on 04/25/2004 3:39:38 PM PDT by stylin19a (is it mogadishu yet ?)
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To: Pikamax
Someone needs to spam all Canadian voters with this info.
12 posted on 04/25/2004 3:41:22 PM PDT by freedom1st
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To: Pikamax
Add this boondogle to the gun registration scheme and you're talking some real money.
13 posted on 04/25/2004 3:54:36 PM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: PARodrig
ping
14 posted on 04/25/2004 4:28:03 PM PDT by Cacique
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To: Pikamax; goldstategop; Former Proud Canadian; Lancey Howard
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,"

"Industrial Policy" is just a subset of the larger Leftist crusade of social engineering. Given that governments are notoriously bad at Industrial Policy, they are notoriously worse at social engineering.

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.

The arrogance of Industrial Policy is only exceeded by the more fatal, godlike conceit of social engineering: that government planners can alter basic human nature.

15 posted on 04/25/2004 4:30:57 PM PDT by SpyGuy
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To: Pikamax; goldstategop; Former Proud Canadian; Lancey Howard
Spain and Germany have expressed reservations about being able to meet their Kyoto targets without economic dislocation.

"Economic dislocation" means moving their most polluting factories to third-world developing countries that are not restricted by Kyoto. That is the idiocy of Kyoto: it's not about reducing overall global "pollution" (and I don't subscribe to the belief that carbon dioxide is a pollutant), it's about penalizing developed, first-world countries. The principal goal of socialism is to drag everyone down to the lowest level of human development.

16 posted on 04/25/2004 4:39:17 PM PDT by SpyGuy
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
So? There's plenty more where it came from... /sarc
17 posted on 04/25/2004 4:49:46 PM PDT by Axenolith (We now return you to your regularly scheduled tagline...)
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To: Pikamax
A billion down a rathole with more planned, because the idiots are not spending their own money. And all that money has produced nothing tangible that would not have otherwise been produced.

It gets worse. The trillions (!) spent on cleaner air, rivers or whatever have yielded arguably 1% of their promise at the cost to everyone of lower taxes and a higher standard of living.
Like socialism, it hasn't worked because we simply haven't spent enough yet.

Right.

18 posted on 04/25/2004 5:02:13 PM PDT by Publius6961 (.)
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To: Pikamax
They design stereo speakers with government money. The American companies such a Vandersteen seem to leave them flat footed over 20 years.
19 posted on 04/25/2004 5:10:13 PM PDT by bmwcyle (<a href="http://www.johnkerry.com/" target="_blank">miserable failure)
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To: SpyGuy
Actually, I think economic dislocation refers more to the loss of industrial jobs within the state than to the movement of those jobs to other states.
I don't care that my transistors come from neverland, I do care if the guy next door loses his job and winds up at 7-11.
I REALLY care when I lose my job and wind up at a 7-11.
20 posted on 04/25/2004 5:14:45 PM PDT by norton
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