Crawl Across the Ocean

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Random Thought for the Day

I often see people argue that Canada shouldn't do anything about its greenhouse gas emissions, because they only make up 2% of the global total1. I'm just wondering, do people who make this argument vote? And if someone pointed out that their vote makes up far less than 2% of the total votes, would they stop?

1Admittedly, many of the people who used to make this argument, now spend their days arguing that the Liberals should have done more to cut Canada's emissions when they were in power. But I guess if you want to always support the Conservative position on the issue, you have to be flexible.


  • False analogy!

    At least when I go and vote, I don't see somebody stuffing thousands of ballots into the boxes at the polling station.

    (USA, China and India will be "rigging the vote" in my own false analogy).

    I think Declan will understand this, but for the benefit of other readers... Since the USA, China and India (and a lesser degree Australia) don't have to adhere to the treaty, it generally makes it irrelevant whether we (Canada) adhere or not. Since it's a lot more painful for us if we do, we shouldn't since the net benefit would be negative.

    The Kyoto Accord is flawed in a few ways, but the critical flaw is from a game theory perspective.

    The acid rain treaties that the USA and Canada signed 30 years ago works because all participants involved knew the rules and adhered to them. Not the case here since the aforementioned countries are massive players and they're not playing by the rules.

    By Blogger Sacha, at 11:51 PM  

  • That doesn't make the analogy false.
    It just means that you wouldn't vote, because there are groups of people who you expect to vote differently than you do.

    To follow the analogy, the number of votes each person casts would be proportional to emission per capita. So the average Canadian casts more votes than the average Indian or Chinese person (Canada ranks #13 in emissions per capita, China #99, India #133), it just happens that there are big Chinese and Indian (and American) neighbourhoods in your riding. There is no somebody stuffing the ballot box, just a big neighbourhood of (Indian, Chinese or American) people, all casting their votes one person at a time, just like in an election.

    I take your point that it is a collective action problem and it is hard for us to take action while our competitors don't (if we assume that taking action will be harmful to the economy, which I am skeptical about), but that is only relevant to those who argue Canada should do nothing for competitive reasons, not those who argue we should do nothing because of our small proportion of global emissions, which was my starting point in this post.

    By Blogger Declan, at 4:05 AM  

  • I've likened in my head to the massive reactions when taxes get raised/lowered by 1-2%. No one ever claims 1-2% isn't important in their money (if I'm wrong, please feel free to send me 1-2% of your money).

    If global pollution is the total amount of taxes (letting taxes == bad for now), and we can cut our contribution to these harmful and deadly taxes, we should.

    Oh, and last I heard, China and India are signed on to Kyoto, they just qualify in different parts of it. The parts which let them massively increase pollution for now, sadly, but it's in the deal.

    By Anonymous aweb, at 12:00 PM  

  • In any case, we'll hardly be in any position to convince the Chinese or Indians to reduce emissions if we won't do it ourselves. As it stands, we could develop our comparative advantage by working to have cleaner - and more efficient - industry. Considering that our worst polluting industries are largely in the resource sector, I'm not sure where the supposed competition from China will come from.

    By Blogger Josh Gould, at 3:06 PM  

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