Howard defends NDP carbon subsidy

EPSTEIN_S_Robb.jpg You almost had to feel sorry for Howard Epstein as he struggled to defend the NDP’s $28 million carbon subsidy at last night’s all-party environmental debate, held at Dalhousie Medical School.

Howard is a lifelong energy policy wonk. He knows it would be asinine to use millions in taxpayer dollars to create incentives for Nova Scotians to consume more coal-fired electricity. But alas, that’s the heart of the NDP’s energy strategy, driven no doubt by focus groups showing “ordinary” Nova Scotians are pissed off about rising power bills. Said Howard:

The price signal is important, but you can’t ignore the poor. You can’t say, “I want all forms of energy to be more expensive to discourage consumption, oh, and by the way I’m also concerned about the poor.” The price signal [from the NDP power bill subsidy] will work its way down and give the poorest Nova Scotians the greatest benefit.

Bullshit. Fuddleduddle. The benefits of the NDP carbon subsidy will be fall overwhelmingly on middle and upper income earners who most need the price signal to curb their consumption. It’s a scandalous misallocation of scarce resources for coping with the greatest environmental challenge of our era.