The government of Canada is cutting funding to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency by 43.1%, shortly after a 6.9% cut. Elizabeth May, the leader of the Green Party, is outraged:
I disagree with subsidies to oil companies, but this is good news to me. Anything that infuriates Elizabeth May makes me happy (in general).
Harper’s Throne Speech in June committed to improving the environmental assessment process, and instead he is driving a stake into its heart, it makes absolutely no sense to be giving $1.4 billion a year in subsidies to the oil and gas industry while allotting a measly $17 million to CEAA. In what way is that protecting our environment?
The priorities of the Harper government are obviously not in line with those of Canadians.Really?
A poll released this week found 45 per cent of surveyed Canadians said the federal government should make health care — a topic the government and federal politicians are often shy to talk about — a priority in next week's budget. That's compared to 35 per cent who chose the economy, and 15 per cent who picked the environment.Emphasis added.
In a throne speech, Harper stated:
“Our Government is committed to developing Canada's extraordinary resource wealth in a way that protects the environment. It will support major new clean energy projects of national or regional significance, such as the planned Lower Churchill hydroelectricity project in Atlantic Canada. It will engage the provinces, territories and industry on ways to improve the regulatory and environmental assessment process for resource projects, while ensuring meaningful consultation with affected communities, including Aboriginal communities.”
Perhaps eliminating excess spending on this environmental agency is what Harper meant when he said the government will “improve the regulatory and environmental assessment process for resource projects.”
I direct you to Bjørn Lomborg, whose views are similar to mine:
Bjorn Lomborg argues that many of the elaborate and expensive actions now being considered to stop global warming will cost hundreds of billions of dollars, are often based on emotional rather than strictly scientific assumptions, and may very well have little impact on the world's temperature for hundreds of years. Rather than starting with the most radical procedures, Lomborg argues that we should first focus our resources on more immediate concerns, such as fighting malaria and HIV/AIDS and assuring and maintaining a safe, fresh water supply-which can be addressed at a fraction of the cost and save millions of lives within our lifetime. He asks why the debate over climate change has stifled rational dialogue and killed meaningful dissent.I don't agree with him about spending money on fighting malaria and HIV/AIDS and water, but with everything else I agree.
The radical environmental movement is largely based upon emotion and fear rather than rational analysis. Protecting the environment should be a priority, but it should be done within reasonability. The Earth belongs to humans, and it is ours to exploit for our own personal gain. But we have to keep in mind that protecting the environment is also in our best interest. We just can’t let emotion dictate how we approach environmental protection.
Industrial activity does not equal environmental destruction. Industrial sites can be reclaimed. In addition, the environmental friendliness of industrial practices has drastically improved in recent decades. The role environmental regulations has played in that should not be ignored, but, in my opinion, the reach of environmental regulations is overkill. It just doesn’t make sense to impede business with regulations, especially regulations that have questionable efficacy. In some cases, environmentally friendly business practices are good for business. For example, environmentally friendly products are ubiquitous and the efficient use of energy saves money.
This brings me back to the original topic of this post, the federal government’s cut on the funding for the CEAA. In addition to the obvious advantage (decrease in government is (generally) always good), I applaud this move for the reasons above. That Elizabeth May and the Green Party are angry is always a bonus.