Liberals join ‘net-zero’ WEF coalition that will raise consumer prices in several industries

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At the World Economic Forum last week, Canada joined two climate coalitions, of which one will raise consumer prices, said an economist.

In an interview with True North, UBC economist Werner Antweiler said the “First Movers Coalition” (FMC), a global group of 69 green-technology advocates from top corporations, would increase production costs in several industries. 

The coalition said it would influence seven industries contributing 30% of global carbon emissions, including aluminum, aviation, chemicals, concrete, shipping, steel, and trucking, to utilize green technology and reduce their collective emissions.

Antweiler said the green mandate would be expensive for the economy. He added that it would force companies to pass the buck on to consumers.

“At the end of the day, somebody’s got to pay for it,” he said. “The higher cost has to be passed on somehow… money is not coming from ‘somewhere.’ And they will surely not go and take it out of the investors.”

True North reported last week that the FMC consists of top global players that agreed to reallocate money from carbon-intensive production methods to fund costly and uncompetitive clean technologies.

Antweiler said the FMC expects consumers to pay for the gap between carbon-intensive production methods to fund clean technologies.

“There is no free lunch here,” said Antweiler. “Any new technology that replaces an older fossil fuel technology tends to be more expensive.”

“Switching to cleaner technologies poses a cost that needs to get passed on, essentially, to the final users.”

After announcing that Canada joined the FMC last week, Innovation Minister François-Philippe Champagne said his country is committed to decarbonization.

“Canada’s participation in the First Movers Coalition reflects our government’s commitment to supporting industrial decarbonization,” said Champagne.

Antweiler said consumers should expect price hikes in the short term but claims that federal targets and climate commitments won’t keep prices high forever.

The UBC Sauder Strategy and Business Economics chair expects green technology to become significantly cheaper, citing solar panels as why innovation is essential.

“That is the crux of the matter for all these industries that are hard to decarbonize,” he said. “We will only see massive changes in these industries if competitive new technologies are sufficiently cheap.”

Decarbonization is not a new commitment from the federal government. They released the “Roadmap to Net-Zero Carbon Concrete by 2050” in November, proclaiming their intent to cut all emissions from the cement and concrete industries over the next 27 years.

The concrete initiative utilizes the federal government’s “Net-Zero Accelerator,” a multi-billion dollar investment attempting to decarbonize heavy industry, support clean technology, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

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