The price is right: Progressive and free-market environmentalism in Australia and Canada
LE3 .A278 2015
Bachelor of Arts
Humanity has come to a cross roads; it must change its ways or face a self-inflicted environmental crisis. With that in mind, the question becomes what can be done to ensure the former path is taken. According to progressive environmentalists, catastrophe cannot be avoided under the current capitalist system; due to the motive of gain that is inherent to the global economic system, the environment is terminally destined to be trumped by the economy under capitalism. Conversely, free-market environmentalists argue that the forces of neoliberalism can be harbored to reverse global warming. This thesis argues that while the progressive rational correctly suggests that humanity must break with capitalism to survive, in the short run, the free-market approach offers useful policy mechanisms that can be used to mitigate climate change. To validate this claim, one must look no further than Australia and Canada’s experience with carbon pricing. While both countries have successfully housed effective and efficient carbon taxes, neither currently imposes a national scheme. This is because of the feverish opposition towards carbon pricing that has been advanced by politicians, interests groups, and citizens alike. Thus Canada and Australia’s carbon pricing history demonstrates that even though free-market environmentalists have conceptualized useful and relatively market-friendly climate change mitigation strategies, they are failing to be utilized due to concern for the economy. As a result, this thesis concludes that humanity must move away from capitalism once and for all.
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