Monday, January 29, 2007

Is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?

A poll by TNS Canadian Facts reports that "two-thirds of respondents, or 68 per cent, said they were more concerned now than a year ago [about climate change], while 77 per cent said they were more worried about environmental issues than they were in 2004." In the same week, the Globe and Mail stated that the environment is the most important matter facing our country. Well, count me in; I'm more concerned; I think this is the most important issue. But I need some more answers ...

Dear Reader, I have two questions for you: What is your willingness to pay? And how much has this latest push to save this planet been driven this mild winter?

On the first question: Why don't these polls ask Canadians if they are willing to pay higher taxes, cut funding to other areas, or see a budget deficit to put an AAA Canadian Beef kind of plan in action? It is a good thing to demand a government to be more productive (we all try to do more with less), but is that enough? I am not sure I have an answer, but someone told me that Halifax is going to be underwater if something does not change fast. And, that - to be honest - scares me (whether it is true or not). So I think: more meat is needed.

Tell me: What happens if energy prices fall back to $30US per barrel WTI, Maritimers return home, everyone buys back their SUVs to drive in the snow when we get a "normal winter"? Will people stop caring about climate change as much? (and by 'people' I mean the 78% that cared more now than they did in 2004). Maybe there is no answer for this question and maybe I should not be asking it, but, do you think that if abnormal weather patterns pushed this issue into the open, then will a return of more 'normal conditions' would bring it back down?

If you want an economic solution to climate change, read this: Greg Mankiw's Pigou Club Manifesto . (A great idea that I will promote)

Love it or hate it. Let me know.


Matthew said...

What is WTI oil price? I thought that world oil prices were for crude or heating oil.

Canadian Economist said...

The oil price we read about in newspaper generally refers a specific type of oil called WTI - or West Texas Intermediate - with is a 'light sweet crude'. It's considered a "sweet" crude because it is about 0.24% sulfur - a high concentration. WTI is high quality oil because it can be easily refined. It is the underlying commodity of the New York Merchantile Exchange's oil futures contracts.

Matthew said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew said...

Here is proof that at least the oil companies aren't suffering

Exxon Mobil Profit Article in the Boston Herald

Gandharva said...

I love your definition of WTI! I also worry that this is a passing fancy, but its appearance does open the possibility of problematising the issue to the point that it becomes a feature of popular thinking more than a kind of hip lip service (not that I am as well behaved on this front as I could be!).