Transfer our emissions and they’re gone!

From a number of otherwise level-headed commentators, political observers and pundits we have recently been privy to the ambitiously disingenuous advice that we could solve a number of our economic problems almost overnight if we simply parceled them off to other lands. Pulp mill not profitable? Dismantle it, ship it on a barge to Quebec/Florida/China and instantly we solve an energy demand problem while lowering emissions in New Brunswick at the same time. Similarly, any unwanted factory, energy-producing facility or mill can simply be transported out of province and the self-congratulation can begin.

If this was a capricious, tongue in cheek proposition, I would be impressed at the drollery of the discourse. But the arguments are in earnest. There’s no sense of irony therefore, that we would simply be shipping our emissions not only to another jurisdiction, in much the same way that Manhattan barges its garbage daily to New Jersey, but that the receiving jurisdiction may, in the examples of Brazil and China, currently have much more lax emissions regulations. Therefore, there is a not inconceivable possibility that we would actually be contributing to a global net increase of emissions even though New Brunswick’s would decline.

This is even before we contemplate the loss of jobs, tax revenues, economic potential, etc. across the province as a consequence of shuttering these mills and factories. I’m not entirely certain that the metaphor is not simply akin to closing one’s eyes to the reality of emissions, but I am eager to hear from any proponents of this model precisely how it could be a good idea.

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