If any group has ‘sustainable’ in its name, Ottawa should end its funding
Only 74 days to “the Future We Want,” according to the website of the Rio+20 UN conference on Sustainable Development. However, despite consciousness-raisers such as the UN’s Happiness of the World Report, which attempts to claim that people might be happier if Jeffrey Sachs planned their lives, and a recent cast-of-thousands London fretfest titled Planet Under Pressure, sustainability is past its due date. The Canadian government not only appears eager to dissociate itself from Rio’s collectivist “We,” it looks keen to jump off the SD bandwagon, just as it has dumped Kyoto.
Sustainable development is a mushy concept rooted in the belief that markets are unsustainable, the climate is in crisis, and that Global Salvation requires vast cabals of bureaucrats, NGOs, consultants and corporations to hatch top-down solutions. Since market prices are “all wrong,” the way to a more modest anti-materialist, carbon-constrained future is through globally co-ordinated taxation and the promotion of energy alternatives. The problem is that both the science of catastrophic man-made climate change and green industrial strategy have come off the rails.
Stephen Harper’s government has been doing a good deal of ideological house cleaning recently, from making sure that rules on limits to charity politicking are being met, to chopping green-agenda-driven agencies. The latter is far more significant. Ironically, Ottawa provides much more support to “radical” programs directly than it does through charity tax breaks. That is about to stop. One obvious example is the closing of the National Round Table on the Environment and Energy (NRTEE), which was ostensibly there to give objective advice, but in fact represented a broken record of climate alarmism and Sustainablespeak, a wonkish organization that spent its time producing voluminous reports recommending more wonkery.