An alternate view on carbon tax
A week or two ago I mentioned that anyone who didn’t believe that climate change was real, was stupid. Strong words perhaps, but I meant them then and I mean them now. However, that does not mean that I have bought into the carbon tax that the Trudeau Government is imposing on everyone, because I haven’t. Part of the problem here is that the Federal Government and others who support and promote a carbon tax, are perpetuating a myth that if you don’t support it, you are denying the reality of climate change. And if you deny climate change, you must be a Conservative. Good politics maybe, but simply not true.
In fact, some people, including myself, are concerned that this tax will actually have a dilatory effect. “Well I’m paying a carbon tax; I’m doing my bit for climate change and the environment.” Not nearly enough and probably not all that effective. People will still buy gas. To them it is just another tax and until effective alternatives are actually in place, they really don’t have a choice, other than to fill up. This is especially true in rural areas like ours, where there are limited transportation options. In addition, if you believe the Government (and that is a big if), when they say they will rebate the revenue they gain from the carbon tax, it means not a penny goes into actually addressing the problem.
Pollution in all forms is the major cause of climate change. Carbon is no doubt a big pollutant, but it is not the only one. Furthermore, taxing people is not an effective deterrent. Tobacco, booze and now weed, are taxed to the hilt and yet people still smoke, imbibe and enjoy a toke. In fact, gasoline, is already heavily taxed and most people will simply see the increase as one more grab at their wallet.
There must be another way to deal with unacceptable levels of carbon and the more I think about it, the more I believe a much better solution than taxing the little guy, is enforcement and new technology. The Government should set a standard for carbon emissions, especially for large companies, one that recognizes we cannot reach an acceptable carbon level over night and one that allows our economy to survive. But nevertheless, one that forces carbon-using industries to reduce their outputs and develop technology to replace their need for carbon emissions.
Someone no doubt will tell me the government is already doing this. Well if they are, it isn’t working. The trick, as it should be with all environmental issues, is enforcement. Companies who expose more carbon to the elements than is lawful or who refuse to adapt to alternate available technology, should themselves be exposed. No SNC-Lavalin treatment and no checking to see which political party they donate to. They should be criminally charged, heavily fined or jailed and if necessary, put out of business. The fines should be huge, and funds realized, invested in new technology to reduce the rate of climate change. Yes, some of that is happening now, but not nearly fast enough and not at a product price the average consumer can afford.
As I alluded to earlier, one of the reasons I think a carbon tax on gasoline is the wrong way to go is that it allows people to believe they are resolving pollution issues when at best they are addressing only a part of the problem. Take plastics for example. There is plenty of evidence that they are having a serious effect on the environment and this includes killing wildlife. Yet, what are we doing about that? Not much.
Much of the problem related to plastics, also relates to littering and littering is a huge issue when it comes to the environment. April is a dirty month in this part of the world. Once the snow disappears it is a real eye opener to see what crap is left on the ground.
In a recent commentary on Doppler, Jodie Dynes, put her finger on it when she complained of people dumping their garbage where it shouldn’t be. They just don’t give a damn what happens to it as long as they don’t have to look after it. One sees too much of this, especially during the summer and fall seasons.
This is another area where I believe enforcement and really heavy fines are the answer. If it takes more cameras and increased law enforcement, so be it. I am not a believer in big government, but I do believe that health, education and a clean environment should be the top three priorities of any provincial or federal jurisdiction. And to date, I have not seen a comprehensive Environmental Plan from either the provincial or federal governments. Knee-jerk taxes just don’t cut it.
If we are really serious about cleaning up our environment and slowing down the pace of climate change, then go after the perpetrators and go after them hard and play no favorites. Use the money you get from that to develop pollution-friendly technologies. But don’t take it out on the little guys, most of whom respect the environment and who are simply trying to get through life and make ends meet. The carbon tax is just another burden they don’t need and it also ducks the real problem.
That is why I am against it.
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