Government action has been the missing ingredient in the effort to advance clean energy technologies and cut greenhouse gas emissions, author and journalist Linda McQuaig argues this week in an essay on iPolitics.
“While the market certainly has a role to play, the only real hope of dealing with a problem as immense as climate change is through the collective action of governments, both in leading their own populations and in coordinating actions on a global scale,” she writes. “Individual market players—with their profit-focused, risk-adverse indifference to the public good—just aren’t up to the task.”
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From IT and the Internet to nanotech, biotech, and the emerging greentech sector, governments have always played a “pivotal role” in major technological breakthroughs, McQuaig notes, citing technology professor Mariana Mazzucato. So “imagine…a government that used taxes or subsidies to reduce the cost of a green car to about half the cost of a regular gas-guzzler, and ensured recharging stations for these green vehicles were as common as gas stations.”
Or political leadership “that actively cooperated with other nations in addressing the climate challenge, and communicated to the Canadian public that it considered fighting climate change as big a priority as fighting the Islamic State.”