As I’ve tried to illustrate recently, there is a very real disconnect between the socialist agenda of the global warming alarmists and hard realities of the world.
I’ve saved a few examples in order to (hopefully) illustrate the scope of the problems that the Suzukis, the Gores and the Obamas of the world are creating.
On the automotive front, critics of the domestic auto industry routinely trot out import manufacturers as shining examples of fuel efficiency, expressing dismay and wonderment at why our manufacturers don’t build similar cars.
Because of a simple misunderstanding of the North American car market, and the industry in general, the Obama administration thinks that it can mandate a 40 per cent increase in the fuel economy of the North American car fleet. The basic assumption is that if more fuel-efficient vehicles are available, people will simply buy them.
This flies in the face of the hard reality that the Korean and Japanese automakers have made huge inroads into this market in the last 15 years in particular, simply by building exactly the kinds of vehicles that Detroit is reviled for — pickups, SUVs and minivans.
The fact is that the small and mid-size car market has been flat for nearly 20 years, and the imports have been subsidizing that market with fat profits on so-called gas guzzlers exactly the same way Detroit has.
It’s really simple. Just as F-150s subsidize the price of Fusions, Nissan Titans subsidize the price of Sentras.
The hard reality is that government plans for the auto industry will leave us with few choices but massive price increases on popular models such as pickups — the top three selling nameplates in North America last month were F-150, Sierra/Silverado, and Dodge Ram — in order to maintain the ability to subsidize the sale of smaller vehicles in the face of government mandated restrictions on the sales of pickups, SUVs and minivans.
The other scenario is even more shrinkage of the auto industry due to spiralling costs from an out-of-control regulatory and interventionist climate.
There’s no upside to this and there’s lots of it going around.
It’s vital that we not ignore the powerful connection between so-called “green” activists and garden variety socialists.
In Great Britain right now, after a decade of increased efforts at weaning Britons from their automobiles and on greater reliance on public transit, the transit unions who have heavily financed “green” activism via the Labour Party have gone out on strike and stranded millions of commuters.
Transit unions have been instrumental in keeping commuters in their cars in scores of cities, routinely driving away paying customers through labour action, yet the “greenest” governments lean mostly to the left, helping ensure that the wants of public sector unions trump the needs of society.
Closer to home, it was a “green” group that was one of the driving forces behind stopping a powerline project in Alberta. Of the numerous issues raised, preserving vistas and sightlines was near the top.
It’s vital to think long and hard about a “green” group shutting down a much needed transmission line project, when the very same people are telling us we need more windmills to meet our electrical needs in the future.
What about those citizens who don’t want a windmill out their back door, for all the same reasons some people don’t want a power line across the back quarter? Noise, aesthetics, and health concerns arise there, too.
Will the “greens” throw those people under the bus?
In Ontario, they already have by passing laws which restrict the rights of landowners and municipalities to object to the erection of windmills and their attendant infrastructure (read: transmission lines).
The same left-leaning groups that protest free-market utility rates, espouse tremendously expensive alternatives such as wind and solar, awash in the idiotic inability to grasp that the shortfall between cost and sell price has to be made up elsewhere, either through taxation or by simply rationing power use.
In Great Britain, widespread rationing is only a few years away, as European Union mandated carbon-reduction schemes have left the U.K. rapidly running out of reserve power with not nearly enough new generating capacity in the pipeline.
These same people, who claim to love the land, can’t grasp that it takes a 30,000-acre wind farm to power 1,000 acres of homes, and a natural gas powered generating station can do the same on 30 or 40 acres.
Read the David Suzuki piece last Monday in this paper. Read the whole thing and focus on one point.
Suzuki asserts that GM would have been better off spending money building “green” cars (which don’t sell and don’t make money) instead of spending millions lobbying against regulatory excess and wasting money building and selling profitable Hummers and SUVs.
Then sit back and think about all that.
Bill Greenwood is a local freelance columnist.