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.
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