OPINION: Corporate welfare is costly, even when it’s green – by Mark Milke (Globe and Mail – December 14, 2018)

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/

Multiple headlines in the past several weeks have highlighted how government subsidies to major corporations did nothing to stem factory closings and job losses. They include Bombardier Inc.’s announcement of 5,000 layoffs despite at least $5-billion in federal and Quebec subsidies.

Then General Motors Co. announced it was laying off 14,700 people across North America. That came despite tax dollars going to the automotive sector: $3.7-billion in Canada and US$16.6-billion in the United States, stemming from the 2008-09 government bailouts.

Now switch gears and look at favourable headlines for another industry – green energy. The International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts that wind, solar and biomass will capture two-thirds of the new investment dollars in new power plants by 2040. But what exactly is meant by “investment dollars” when renewables receive massive taxpayer aid?

The IEA’s fine print reveals that green technologies must be subsidized and/or “mandated” into the electricity grid to succeed. For example, from the IEA’s 2017 summary: “Cost reductions for renewables are not sufficient on their own to secure efficient decarbonization or reliable supply.”

And this year, the IEA wrote that private sector investment in bioenergy was not proceeding at the pace preferred by the Paris-based agency. It advised that “robust sustainability governance and enforcement must therefore be a central pillar of any bioenergy support policy.”

For the rest of this column: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-corporate-welfare-is-costly-even-when-its-green/

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