With climate change strikes happening around the world, this has become a major issue. I think both the alarmists and deniers are wrong on this and below will explain why. The reality is if you want to get something done on climate change, it won’t be easy but you ask for something too radical at once, people will do nothing. People don’t mind some minor changes in their lives, but don’t want radical too quickly so even if radical changes are needed, best to phase them in slowly. Canada only contributes 1.6% of the world’s GHGs so obviously what we do will not make or break, but at the same time if everyone took this attitude nothing would get done. As such I believe in taking action, but reasonable, not to the point it causes undue harm. Also it should be a mix of both adaptation and mitigation realizing we probably won’t reach our targets, but getting part way there is better than no way.
I have long supported a revenue neutral carbon tax and I believe that instead of regulation or tax credits this is the best solution to deal with the climate crisis. It is a market based approach rather than a bureaucratic approach and I believe market approaches in most, but not all areas work better than bureaucratic ones. In fact this is a conservative not left wing idea. Very first carbon tax in North America was implemented by none other than Gordon Campbell who anyone who lived in BC would attest was a strong fiscal conservative. Thanks to the carbon tax, BC even with NDP’s big spending items still has one of the lowest tax rates for all income brackets and a balanced budget. If we implemented one federally like Michael Chong proposed, we could too once again take Canada from being uncompetitive for income and corporate taxes while making it competitive again and also put more money in lower and middle income Canadian’s pockets. I don’t believe the way the Liberals are handling this is appropriate as they are just picking fights with provinces. I believe the proper solution is just to implement a federal carbon tax. Provinces can have one too as most taxes occur at both levels. Instead those living in provinces with one would be eligible for a larger rebate than those who don’t. How I envision a carbon tax working is for those who make less than 30K, they would get a straight up cheque from the government refunding the average costs thus making it revenue neutral. For those making more than that, they would save as well as corporations would with lower tax rates overall. However for a carbon tax to work and not be harmful to the economy it must be revenue neutral, which unfortunately more often than not, that is not the case. Any carbon tax that is not 100% revenue neutral, I cannot support. Otherwise this is a tax on negative externalities to encourage people to change their behavior, not a revenue generator. Likewise to avoid undue hardship I would go slow by starting at $5/tonne and raising by $5/tonne every year until we hit $50/tonne, so phased in over a decade. As for regulations, we would have some limits, but they should be as light as possible and instead pricing as opposed to rules should be the mechanism to reduce GHGs. In terms of Paris targets, we should try to meet them, but not at all costs and if we fall a bit short that is okay. What matters is we are moving in the right direction.