Two bits of news from the provincial government have recently come to light that have highlighted just how much government revenue triumphs over supposedly "green" thinking and acting.
The first bit of news is the plan for B.C. to harmonize its provincial sales tax with that of the federal government, called "HST." What has this got to do with energy efficiency and renewable energy? Because at this point in time the provincial tax is exempted on these products, essentially giving a 7% break on the price of "going green." Bicycles, solar panels, insulation and a whole lot more are currently exempted. After July 1st, 2010, they very likely won't be.
The other, much less publicised, bit of news is that the government is further reducing its royalties on natural gas exploration in a desperate attempt to increase its revenues as a result of increased drilling and selling of leases. There is currently too much natural gas on the market, depressing prices and making it less enticing to explore for new sources. This reduction in royalties will drive down the price even further, making renewable energy less attractive. In the end the planet will pay for this foolishness. So will we.
With these two strokes the current government has shown just how shallow its commitment to a sustainable future truly is. Of course the government is hurting for revenues. If it had the vision of Germany or even China (believe it or not) to push for renewable energy such as tidal and wave, the tax base would be improved and we could be exporting our technologies to other nations. Now we will be even more dependent on a finite fuel.
So it is that I continue to be inspired by those who act with vision -the many homeowners, businesses, and local governments who put their money where their mouth is.