June 19th, 2018

Carbon tax an appropriate, rational response

By Letter to the Editor on April 19, 2017.

Re: “No carbon emissions problem in Canada,” April 11

Jim Taylor apparently believes that we can have our energy cake and eat it, too.

Mr. Taylor urges the government to “be incentivizing green technology and then exporting this technology.” Presumably this will require some new source of revenue, as the province is currently running record budget deficits. Mr. Taylor doesn’t suggest a source for the necessary funds, except that it definitely should not be the carbon tax.

Why not? What revenue source would be more palatable? About $1 billion of carbon tax revenues will be invested each year in precisely what Mr. Taylor wants — renewable energy, “green infrastructure,” and energy efficiency programs.

Will this be an insurmountable burden to Albertans? Contrary to Mr. Taylor’s misleading “average” figures, rebates will entirely offset the additional cost of the carbon levy for about 60 per cent of Alberta households — those with low and middle income.

It is true that higher-income households will receive lower (or no) rebates. They will need to pay the estimated $400 direct impact on their expenses in 2017 from their own resources. I think they can probably afford it.

Does the carbon tax address a real problem — Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions? Mr. Taylor deny the problem. Mr. Taylor’s unsupported statement that “We absorb more carbon than we emit” flies in the face of basic biology and current research findings.

Producing and burning fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases. If that is a problem, as the vast majority of climate scientists accept, it is a problem in Alberta as it is elsewhere. The causes and effects of global warming do not respect national and provincial boundaries. To point the finger at China, the U.S., and India, as Mr. Taylor does, hardly absolves Alberta and Albertans from acting responsibly.

The fact that most of Alberta is covered with trees and other green plants is, in the long run, irrelevant. Of course plants absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, but those same plants release the carbon dioxide at night and as they burn or decay. In the long run, plants are carbon neutral. Human activities are not.

As cartoon character Pogo Possum wisely observed decades ago, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”

By the end of 2017 over 40 countries will have implemented some sort of carbon taxing scheme – http://www.carbontax.org. Far from being the “myopic approach” that Jim Taylor decries, I see the carbon tax as a widespread, appropriate and rational response to an urgent need.

We just can’t have our cake — incentivizing green technology — without funding to do the job. The carbon tax can provide it.

David Gue

Medicine Hat

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One Response to “Carbon tax an appropriate, rational response”

  1. Fedup Conservative says:

    You guys have all heard this before but guys like Jim Taylor find it smart to just ignore it. What makes it so disturbing to me is that while many of us long time conservative supporters desperately tried to stop Klein from deregulating our electricity and natural gas, guys like him, had nothing but praise for what Klein was doing to us and have never acknowledged the thousands of dollars it has cost each of us.The last figure I recall was a few years ago and it indicated that it had cost Albertans and extra $40 billion and former MLAs from the Lougheed era agreed with me that it benefited absolutely no one other than rich friends of the Conservative government. .

    How many times does he have to be told it was the oil industry who wanted the Carbon Tax put in place and the Liberals and the NDP agreed something had to be done? These so-called conservatives under Klein, Stelmach, Redford and Harper refused to do anything about it. My conservative friends and I saw nothing conservative about them.
    For years we listened to our hero Peter Lougheed urge the Klein and Stelmach governments to slow down oilsands development and get control of our pollution, they wouldn’t listen. By slashing our royalties from 35% of oil revenues down to a pathetic 3%, they cut government revenues to the bone, and forced us into a situation where a massive expansion was required to try to make up the revenue losses they deliberately created.

    While this was going on, members of the oil industry were telling us that if we didn’t do something about our pollution we were going to get sued. Apparently a study proved we are having an effect on the soil and water in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. why wouldn’t we?

    And while we were being screwed out of our money Alaska and Norway were building up huge savings accounts for their children future, but guys like Jim don’t want to believe that either, as many of us have discovered by talking to them. Sadly in every case I have seen it’s been one of my fellow seniors who just won’t accept the truth and as University Professors have told me the fact is they can’t handle it.

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