Bush Jr. the environmentalist
I can picture you removing me from your bookmarks as you read the title. Please reverse that urge and listen to me on this point: I can back this up. Bush can be considered one of the biggest green leaders in the United States in most recent history. I can say this for three reasons.
(1) As governor of Texas he signed and pushed a plan that required a portion of the electricity generated by the utility companies in the state had to be from green sources. He increased the tax credit for windmills, provided training, and helped start an industry where there was none before. It’s to the point now that the mandate can be tossed away because wind power has been so wildly successful in Texas.
(3) De-regulated the energy sector in such a way in the state of Texas to allow for start ups to start filling out niches in the market place in terms of transmission lines to rural Texas and in power generation. In his gubernatorial reign Bush Jr. created a framework that allowed for investors to work together, invest into a region, and serve the public morally, sustainably, and, of course, more than adequately.
Watch the reasonings and methods above: it isn’t a mandate that all electricity should be created vis-a-vis new technologies. A base requirement was set, a financial system of support was made to start the change, and, finally, the market place was not demonstrably changed but adjusted to suit the needs of the people and business.
What Bush did with his reorientating of the Texan marketplace was simple: he set a minimum, pointed in a general direction, gave a few financial incentives for some of the “hows” and a far away “when”, and let the innovators/investors decide their own “hows” and surpass the “when”. The free market is an amazing tool to serve people and society if we can just facilitate the right incentives, push the right people, and invigorate a portion of society to contribute their skills/resources.
One thing I noticed when talking to people is that they disconnect the interests of business with people–and it’s completely the wrong way to think about things. Not only do interests of business and people overlap, people make businesses! When the oddball communist spouts off about corporate fascism or a left-wing environmentalist talks about uncaring corporations there’s an issue with their line of thinking because each corporation is not just a piece of paper or an organization… there are people within that organization, people that write that paper, and people that make the decisions.
Corporations are not soulless, mindless profit seekers. The people in these organizations can be guided, if given the chance. If the path is laid, opportunity given, and a base minimum set, the achievements unlock-able by public and private policy can herald something new and unthinkable previously.
One thing that I have noticed through business (my family’s) and through careful study is that once the financial hangups and problems are dealt away with the basic human instinct to do good tends to overpower any other urge. If Canada could emulate this facet of Bush policy, set up a regime conducive to green investment, and support businesses as they transition, well, there is little doubt in my mind we can move forward into the actual next generation of green economies.
And all it takes is leadership–a strong vision.