Where has our climate cash gone if not into preventing wildfires?

By: Rachel Marsden

PARIS — Wildfires are front and center in the Western world this summer, from Hawaii to Canada and around Europe. Our leaders are telling us that it’s because of climate change. What have they been spending our cash on if they claim that wildfires are getting worse despite our contributions?

“Millions of people are experiencing dangerous air quality due to wildfires across Canada, which are intensifying because of the climate crisis,” US Vice President Kamala Harris said.

“We’re seeing more and more of these fires because of climate change,” echoed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Twitter, adding that his government will “keep working – here at home and with partners around the world – to tackle climate change and address its impacts.”

That really doesn’t sound like they’re giving us a very good return on our climate change investment. So how about instead of constantly citing the need for our cash to control the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere right down to a specific degree, use it instead to manage our parks and forests better? You know, something with an actual metric to ensure accountability.

Contrary to the establishment narrative, it would seem that a lack of global warming and fires over the course of the past several decades has led to an accumulation of dead growth which now desperately requires preventive burns so that it doesn’t all risk going up in smoke at once in a massive carbon footprint. So maybe they could start with that.

There’s also a clear demand for firefighting equipment, like water bombers. Canada has dominated their production, but Europe is demanding a new generation Canadair and Canada has failed to maintain the expertise required to produce it.

Why hasn’t climate change cash been used to invest in the manufacturing of this new plane that much of the Western world wants to buy, and which would generate a decent return rather than just a bottomless spending pit?

Western nations have most recently turned to multiplying carbon taxes on both businesses and consumers — all of which ultimately land on our shoulders as businesses pass the buck in the form of increased prices on virtually everything. And with the exception of France’s Yellow Vest revolt on an eco-tax increase to fuel in 2018, voters have generally just shrugged it off. Inflation across the entire Western world has been skyrocketing and few have cited climate taxes as a culprit.

In Canada, the federal carbon tax — rebranded as a “pollution tax”, because it’s apparently easier to sell a tax on pollution than one on carbon (aka plant food) — is programmed to automatically increase every year, and just went up again on fuel.

The cash collected through the scheme gets redistributed as the government sees fit — to “individuals and families through pollution price rebates” and to businesses and “Indigenous groups,” according to the government’s website.

And while the government insisted earlier this year that citizens got back more in rebates than they spent on the fuel tax itself, it’s impossible to measure how much extra these same people paid as a result of the skyrocketing inflation to which this tax contributes right across the board.

Although we’re told that climate taxes are meant to curb climate change, fewer people actually believe it. A national Nanos Research survey this month found that just 15 percent of Canadians believe that to be the case, with 53 percent saying that it hasn’t.

So people are catching onto the racket. And why wouldn’t they? After years of guilt trips and being blamed for whatever the earth’s climate happens to be doing at any given moment, they’re starting to notice that government action in this area is as useless as it is elsewhere.

While the average person gets stiffed, others profit from perpetuation of the issue. It’s not that much different than the endless Western spending on US weapons for Ukraine, which has just led the Washington Post to publish a new dire US intelligence community assessment of Kyiv’s “counteroffensive” against Russian forces.

Regardless of the Ukraine conflict’s eventual outcome, the military industrial complex will be the clear winner. Similarly, “green“ beneficiaries of government largesse have failed to meet expectations in powering industrialized nations despite massive state assistance.

The need for Germany — Europe’s greenest economy — to fall back on dirty coal because solar and wind weren’t ready for prime time when European sanctions cut off the bloc from cheap Russian gas, is a prime example. But investors in renewables are still getting rich off our backs for endlessly trying.

It’s the average citizen dodging wildfires while struggling with inflation — both the result of government mismanagement— who serves as the perpetual cash cow. And they’ll continue to do so until they wise up and start fighting back.