Clean energy users deserve break


By Bruce Rhodes


October 31, 2002


Re: Buyers blow fuse over bills, Oct. 24.


On one hand, I am disappointed Murray Brown, to cut energy costs, plans to outfit his farm with a generator that burns dirty diesel fuel.


One the other hand, I hold the federal and provincial governments, not Mr. Brown, responsible for taxing various forms of energy in ways that do not reflect their total true costs, specifically their environmental costs.


Governments have an opportunity to tax dirtier energy sources, such as diesel fuel, gasoline and electricity generated from coal, at higher than current rates.


To do so would cause the price paid for dirtier energy forms to more accurately reflect all of their costs, both monetary (e.g. refining) and environmental (greenhouse gas pollution).


At the same time, governments should increase subsidies for cleaner sources, such as solar and wind power and natural gas.


While some Canadians will do the right thing and choose cleaner energy sources regardless of cost, most will use whichever energy source has the lowest price.


It is, therefore, up to governments to use taxation and subsidies to ensure the cleaner energy sources are also the cheapest.