Earth Day Media Release: A carbon pricing policy for all

A Carbon Pricing Policy for All

Media Contact: Cathy Orlando, 705-929-4043

Today, Earth Day, 2016, over 150 countries including Canada, China and the USA will sign the Paris Climate Accord. Finally, the world’s leading emitters are committed to working together on the climate crisis. However, Canada’s commitments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions are inadequate and the Conference Board of Canada has given Canada a grade of “D” for protecting our environment.

In February 2016 Sir Nicholas Stern said: “The twin defining challenges of our century are overcoming poverty and managing climate change. If we can tackle these issues together, we will create a secure and prosperous world for generations to come. If we don’t, the future is at grave risk.”

Currently, the Ontario Environmental Law Association is warning that time is running out to make sure Ontario’s cap and trade policy for carbon emissions doesn’t push more people into poverty.

In February 2016, PM Trudeau first proposed plans for a nationally integrated carbon price. Citizens’ Climate Lobby recommends Carbon Fee and Dividend as the overarching policy integrated nationally.

Carbon fee and dividend is a revenue neutral price on carbon pollution which:

  • Collects a fee on carbon-based fuels when extracted or imported starting at $15 / tonne CO2
  • The fee increases steadily each year at a rate of $10 / tonne CO2 / per year
  • Pays all proceeds to Canadian households on an equitable basis via a cheque

The predictably increasing carbon price will send a clear market signal to fuel innovation and investment in the clean energy economy without burdening taxpayers. Most Canadians, especially the poor, will receive more in the dividend than their increase in costs. Thus Carbon fee and Dividend will also reduce inequality.

An April 2015 study from Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission determined that the Canadian economy would grow by an additional 3.7% by 2020 with a well-designed carbon pricing policy compared to using regulatory mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions.

Currently, Ontario MP Michael Chong, a potential federal Conservative leadership candidate, has openly supported carbon pricing. As well, an April 5, 2016 poll found that 6 out of 10 Ontarians approve of PC Ontario leader Patrick Brown’s revenue neutral model of pricing carbon.

Canadian economist Lars Osberg makes compelling arguments for the efficacy of Carbon Fee and Dividend. He also acknowledges that Carbon Fee and Dividend recognizes the property rights of all citizens which can be a populist platform for either the left or the right.

Enough with the climate brinkmanship. Opportunity is knocking. Political will for a low carbon economy and carbon pricing is beginning to manifest in unlikely places.  It’s time to price carbon transparently and carve out our slice of the global multi-trillion-dollar clean tech industry.

Carbon Fee and Dividend is an exceptionally good news story for Earth Day. Think about it. Canada can finally begin do our part and tackle the climate crisis, while at the same time create jobs and reduce income inequality with Carbon Fee and Dividend.

Cathy Orlando has put her words to work for the climate by getting letters and opinion pieces published in newspapers in every province in Canada. When she’s not safeguarding the climate alongside the best volunteers on the planet, you can probably find her stargazing, dancing, reading books not about climate change, hanging out with her husband Sanjiv, and mothering her three cherished daughters.