You should never pay someone who's doing the wrong thing to improve. You should 'punish' them in a sense, or at least have them foot the bill if they don't change their ways.
I watched a doco on a similar example recently where children in the US equivalent of year 9 were offered $50 a month, plus being in the draw for 500 every month, if they could improve their grades and keep them above a C average. Some kids did well, but overall there was no real improvement. Why? Because the children had nothing to lose. Their lives weren't going to change if they didn't do well and get the $50 a month. It could've been $1000 a month and the result would've been the same. However, I bet if they had a negative incentive to do well, whether it be losing money, that would've made a difference.
Think about it. If you have two people competing for something, whether it's a mark on an exam or climbing mount everest. If one's offered $100 000 if they win, and the other faces being shot in the head, who do you think will put everything they have into it? That's a rash example, but it represents the same point.
Unless the big polluting companies have something to lose by not improving, they will not improve well enough soon enough. If offered money, yes they may do a little, but at the end of the day they can still not bother, ignoring the Gov bonus, keep polluting and making huge profits.
When it comes down to it we the tax payers have to pay anyway. Whether it's to use a product that becomes more expensive as a result of the companies being taxed (even though the Gov is putting in place legislation to prevent the companies passing on costs to consumers), or whether it's our tax dollars going straight into the pockets of CEOs of these companies as their yearly bonuses. I would the tax dollars I'm paying either way go towards seeing real change from these companies.
The world is moving towards a greener, cleaner, healthier economy and it's about time we realised this and got onboard now so that we're at the front of the leading pack. We only have bucket loads to gain from doing so, and countless pickup truck loads to lose from ignoring the fact.
Wake up Abbott.
Wake up Abbott.