MEDIA RELEASE – Connect the dots on extreme weather – economic, human cost rising with CO2

MEDIA RELEASE – Connect the dots on extreme weather – economic, human cost rising with CO2

F O R  I M M E D I A T E  R E L E A S E

CONTACT:    Christine Penner Polle – Coordinator, Western Canada -Citizens' Climate Lobby. 807-728-3556,

JULY 10, 2014 –  The consequence of torrential rains and sudden summer flooding across broad swaths of the prairies is alarming. The human and economic toll is high and mounting, with the estimated dollar cost of $360 million for Saskatchewan alone.

Meanwhile to the north extreme drought and forest fires are ravaging the Northwest Territories and New Brunswickers are cleaning up after Hurricane Arthur, the earliest recorded hurricane to strike North Carolina, moved North.

Scientists, including most recently over 90 authors and 115 expert reviewers in the federal government’s Natural Resources Department, are warning that there is an enormous gap between the science on global warming and government actions on this pressing issue.

The Natural Resources report, posted on the department’s website, describes numerous impacts Canadians can expect as a result of more heat-trapping CO2 in the atmosphere. These include human health concerns like the spread of Lyme Disease and health effects from air pollution, and more extreme heat and rainfall, meaning more droughts, floods, and wildfires.

We are all vulnerable. The best way to reduce our vulnerability is through decreasing the amount of carbon pollution in the air. According to a recently released U.S.-based Regional Economic Modeling Inc. (REMI) report, a rising fee on carbon with revenue recycled to households over the next 10 years will reduce emissions by 33 per cent, create 2.1 million jobs, save up to 13,000 lives  annually and increase GDP by $85 billion.

While this study is from the United States, it is of great interest to Canadians as well. In fact, British Columbia has a carbon tax that recycles the revenue back to citizens. A recently released five year study on BC's carbon tax found BC's per capita fossil fuel use has decreased while BC's GDP growth slightly outpaced the rest of the country.

The biggest take-home from the B.C. experience and the REMI study is that there is no economic argument against pricing carbon and returning the money to households. Carbon fee and dividend legislation would create jobs, grow the economy, save lives, and make Canadians richer. It does this, according to the REMI study, while also reducing CO2 emissions to 69 % of 1990 levels by 2025, and 50% of 1990 levels by 2035. To be against pricing carbon is to be against jobs, against a larger economy, and against saving Canadian lives. We know of no politician who wants to be against these things, so what are we waiting for?