This fall looks like it’s turning out to be a dark one for the Ontario Liberal Party.
Two weeks after Japan filed an official trade dispute over the Green Energy Act to the WTO, it looks like two more major world powers have taken issue with McGuinty’s controversial energy policy. Last Thursday the United States and the European Union joined Japan in their complaint to the WTO that the local procurement requirements of Ontario’s Green Energy Act are a “prohibited subsidy” and as such violate international trade agreements. All three powers are now entering consultations to try and resolve the dispute without any legal action. If that fails, they will enter quasi-legal settlement procedures that could potentially lead to trade sanctions against guilty parties.
The specific part of Ontario’s energy policy under fire are its protectionist measures implemented to promote localized “green” energy development projects. Japan, and now the US and EU, see these measures as anti-free trade, a threat to their own rule abiding green energy strategies, and a hindrance to the overall development of advanced renewable technologies.
As I’ve suggested on this blog in the past, measures which complicate free trade have no place in the energy industry. When it comes to environmentally vital technologies, speed of development should take precedence over protectionism and economic opportunity. Although it may be that Japan, the US and the EU are simply trying to protect their own economic interests, the market policy they are attempting to sustain nevertheless speeds the development and lowers the cost of advanced renewable technologies. I understand the negative effects free trade can have on developing countries, but the countries involved in this economic conflict are all strong First World powers with the relative economic prowess to absorb these effects.
The current technological state of renewable energy allows it to act merely as a supplemental energy source. If governments like Dalton McGuinty’s choose to continue to ignore “green” ready technologies like nuclear fission, they’d best not hinder the advancement of the renewable technology to which they are attempting to shift our reliance. Ideally, Dalton McGuinty should admit the shortcomings of his Green Energy Act and institute massive reforms which take into account all that has been learned since its immensely troubled implementation. Though one would think the energy policy of one Canadian province would have little effect beyond its borders, it’s clear from this multinational economic conflict that it stretches far beyond. This is congruent with the nature of the environmental challenges our planet is facing. Climate change is a global issue, and as such requires a global effort and global cooperation. Quoting the president of the Association of Power Producers of Ontario, David Butters, “This is a wake-up call” for the Ontario government.
Mr. McGuinty, the world’s greatest economic powers are lobbying against your energy plan. Time throw in the towel.
Source: The Globe and Mail
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