Green Kavorka: how environmentalists get politicians to jump onto dumb bandwagons

“I have this… power.” Thus spake Kramer, in the hilarious Latvian Orthodox episode on Seinfeld. He was referring to what the Latvian Orthodox priest called Kavorka, the lure of the animal. Mainstream greens in Canada could say the same thing about their influence over current and former Canadian politicians. Except Kavorka in this case would mean “the lure of the politically correct celebrity”.

It gives me no pleasure to report that my prediction, that the launch of Canadians for Climate Leadership would be a complete non-event in terms of new policy, has come true. The only reason I am writing about this is that CCL got a ton of press. Why? Because four former prime ministers have endorsed the initiative’s policy recommendations.

And what are the recommendations? Slap a $30-per-tonne tax on carbon emissions—at a time of record-high energy prices. Make “staggering” investments in green technologies—wind, not nuclear. Hey, Germany is doing it; why can’t Canada.

In other words, same old, same old. Mainstream greens’ policy recommendations are as hare-brained as Kramer’s get-rich-quick schemes in Seinfeld. Only not as entertaining.

It is depressing that this amounts to the sum and substance of mainstream thinking on the environment in Canada. What is even more depressing is that the former PMs, formidable politicians in their day, have jumped onto the CCL bandwagon.

Why does the green Kavorka hold so much sway over them? Maybe because the CCL juggernaut appears to be mainly celebrity-driven. Assemble a lineup of society heavyweights, issue a few press releases, and watch it all play. The former PMs see their names in print, in close proximity with Naomi Klein and Margaret Atwood… and it’s the good old days all over again.

Of current Canadian politicians, only the federal Conservatives and the federal and British Columbia NDP appear immune to the green Kavorka. Interestingly, the Conservatives and NDP appear to be doing well in the race for federal seats in carbon-taxed BC.

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15 years ago

“Why does the green Kavorka hold so much sway over them?”

People state that they like these green party non-solutions because they want the problem to have a simple solution. It is “wishful thinking”. Note that since there was not much thinking involved initially in reaching this opinion, there is not much commitment either causing people to stick there. The celebrities will bail out as fast as they can as soon as anything negative surfaces.

We are just going to have to let these fools build their windmills, and explain their losses to the bankruptcy auditors. We tried to warn them. Smart people learn from the experiences of others, fools learn from their own rough experiences. It is going to be painful to watch all these wishes destroyed.

Now, if we really want to make these windmill schemes crash and burn, then we need something better. Talk is not enough. Thank goodness for the Americans, who are always really good at doing things. They have an interesting initiative going on down there:

The one complication is that a steam boiler-turbine system is currently needed to get electricity from these devices. That is the expensive part. However, good research results have been reported for solid state devices that produce electricity directly from a heat source, no boiling needed. When that technology is available, the hyperion product will be less complicated than a flashlight. Do you think these things will sell? Do kids like ice cream. If anyone has any money invested in wind mills, this would be a good time to pull out.