It pisses me off how much it costs to be more environmentally friendly: Want a hybrid car? It’s going to cost at least $4K more than a non-hybrid. Want to add Solar to your roof? That’s going to be at least $12-15K. Hell, even getting recycling at my office is going to cost me a fair chunk of money (still receiving bids, so final price is unknown). More eco paper costs more than less eco-paper, and what’s most annoying is the cost of re-usable goods when there’s a disposable option.
Canada’s so far behind our Kyoto accord commitments. And there’s been some half-assed attempts to encourage eco-friendliness (the now-dead “One-Tonne Challenge”, for example). But I believe that this has to be done in economic turns. Why not jack up the tax on disposable goods to the point that their a pain to use (provide exemptions – at first – for necessary items). Why not reduce or eliminate taxes on products meeting harsh environmental standards? Encourage such things a solar projects on houses, that contribute back to the grid, or home water recyclers, etc. Make subsidies to subsidized industries contingent on meeting emission and other eco standards.
There’s no doubt that enacting Kyoto will be expensive. But if we structure it so that companies will benefit financially by doing so, they’ll all jump on it. We have a what – 5, 8 billion dollar budget? I have no idea how far, say, 3 Billion goes, but why not just set aside 50% of our budget surplus for the next 10 years to these sorts of initiatives? How many home solar panels could $1billion buy, if say, the government was paying 50% of the cost?
Full disclosure: I have no environmental engineering training. I only know what I read in papers, etc. But I do know that people are lazy and selfish, and are only likely to change if it’s in their best interest. And I know that as a business owner, I’m constantly amazed and appalled at how much it can cost even a small company of 3 people to do even the most minimal ‘greening’, compared to doing nothing at all, and that depresses me.
Update: I apparently struck a meme, because there’s a slew of links I just posted at right from Wired and elsewhere.