PARLIAMENT COULD HELP OBAMA WITH HIS CLIMATE HOPE THURSDAY, JANUARY 30, 2014
On Tuesday, January 28, 2014, President Obama said in his State of the Union Address,”Climate change is a fact. And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”
President Obama left out specifics about programs that could combat climate change. The biggest hurdle facing Obama is the Republican Congress. On that same day, 24 Republicans on The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted down an amendment that would have stated conclusively that climate change is occurring.
Parliament could help Obama by enacting a revenue neutral price on carbon and lead the way towards a better future on this continent. We would be protected under the North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The North American Agreement on Environmental Cooperation was negotiated and implemented in parallel to NAFTA. It requires that each Party ensures its laws provide for high levels of environmental protection. As well, under NAFTA Article 604, “parties are allowed to maintain duties, taxes or other charge on the export of any energy or basic petrochemical good to the territory of another Party if the duty, tax or other charge applies to the exports of any such good to the territory of all other Parties and any such good when destined for domestic consumption”.
In the House of Commons, on Thursday, January 30, 2014, MP Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay, ON) will debate the Environment Minister (or a designate) on the merits of Carbon Fee and Dividend. Carbon Fee and Dividend is an upstream tax and is levied at the well head, or mine where fossil fuels are produced or point of entry into our economy via imports. Carbon Fee and Dividend is the policy Citizens Climate Lobby supports. It is a non-partisan policy, created by citizens for citizens.
PM Harper recently said that long-delayed regulations on the oil and gas sector will be announced “over the next couple of years”. Regulatory mechanisms will substantially grow government size and thereby increase taxes. As lawyer and carbon tax expert Dr. Shi-ling Hsu said, ‘”The upshot is that this is going to be a very complicated piece of regulation, putting a lot of lawyers to work. As a law professor, I guess that is good news. For the rest of you, it is a tax.”
As well, regulatory mechanisms are not market-based. The Prime Minister has a lot of leeway to pick winners and losers in the energy sector depending on how the policies are written. Some might perceive a non-market-based solution for Canada’s energy sector as Ottawa favouring certain regions of Canada over others.
Another carbon pricing mechanism is cap and trade. It is a free market solution but it will grow government size, for similar reasons cited for regulation. It is problematic because it is extremely doubtful that Canada’s largest trading partner, the USA, would enact a Cap and Trade. Most Republicans have signed the Norquist Taxpayer Protect Pledge and thus have made it very clear that there is no possibility of major new bureaucracy or regulatory regime . As well, there is no patience among American public (liberal or conservative) for big fuzzy new Wall Street trading schemes.
Carbon Fee and Dividend is a market-based solution and that means the free market not Ottawa will choose the energy companies that will flourish in the 21st century in Canada. In comparison to regulation and cap and trade, Carbon Fee and Dividend will barely grow government size. By returning the revenue from carbon fees back to citizens, there will be minimal tax burden on Canadians.
Carbon Fee and Dividend is the only plan that can be reasonably expected to achieve aggressive emissions reductions and get both liberals and conservatives on both sides of the border to the table at the same time. Carbon Fee and Dividend would set us down on a path of broad prosperity. A revenue neutral carbon price such as Carbon Fee and Dividend is an example of effective governance and enacting one would fulfill our need for mutual responsibility.
In the 1980s a Progressive Conservative government took the lead on The Acid Rain Treaty and the Montreal Protocol. On Thursday, January 30, 2014, Canadians will get a good indication of what this current government intends to do with regards to the climate crisis.
For Immediate Release: January 29, 2014,
Contact: Cathy Orlando firstname.lastname@example.org or 705-929-4043