I admit: we aren’t 100 per cent sure that human activity is causing
global warming. So let’s all go home in our SUVs and join an “axe the
tax” campaign. Come to think of it, we aren’t sure that our houses will
be robbed, flooded, or burned to the ground, so let’s cancel our home
insurance while we’re at it.
After all, the vast majority of the world’s climate scientists will
only admit to being 90 per cent certain that our carbon emissions are
causing global warming on such a scale that we face global catastrophe
if we fail to change our ways. If nine out of 10 doctors said your
child needed an immediate operation, would you wait until all 10
James Hansen, a leading climate expert who raised the alarm about
global warming to the U.S. Congress 20 years ago, says he’s 99 percent
sure, but that’s still not 100 percent, so why should we pay more by
way of a carbon tax to address a problem that may not exist?
True, a report prepared by M.K. Jaccard and Associates for the David
Suzuki Foundation titled Pricing Carbon: Saving Green argued
persuasively that a carbon tax is an effective tool for bringing
emissions down, and governments, scientists, and economists around the
world agree, but what if they’re wrong?
Never mind that countries such as Sweden, which implemented a carbon
tax in 1991, have proven such measures are effective and that they
actually produce economic benefits; why should we change if we don’t
have to? Rising gas prices due to global market forces are already
hitting us hard enough; why should we add to the misery?
Consider this: If the industry shills and their followers are right
and global warming is not the threat we think it is, and we act anyway,
the oil will still be there for future use and we’ll also have cleaner
air and greater innovation in green technologies – along with stronger
If the majority of the world’s climate scientists are right and we fail
to act, we face ecological, social, and economic catastrophe on a scale
beyond anything we’ve experienced in modern times.
Consider also that carbon taxes such as B.C.’s and the one the
federal Liberals have proposed are actually tax shifts. The money
collected from individuals, businesses, and industry will be returned
in the form of cuts to personal and business taxes.
The 2.4 cents a litre increase in gas prices that is one small part of
the B.C. tax is minuscule compared to market increases, and the tax may
help us move away from continued reliance on increasingly scarce and
costly fossil fuels.
Whether it’s called a tax shift, a revenue-neutral tax, or a new
tax, it will get people worked up. No one likes taxes, but we like
roads and schools and hospitals and police services, so we pay them. We
also pay about $90 a tonne to put garbage into landfills, so why are we
so concerned about having to pay to put garbage into the air?
Politicians have two powerful instruments to influence behaviour:
regulation and taxation. In the mindless mantra of anti-taxation
groups, taxes are bad and we should always cut and never increase them.
The ludicrous aspect is that these groups are silent about the enormous
taxpayer subsidies to fossil-fuel and related industries that make
windfall profits while resisting even a small tax hike.
Together with measures such as a cap-and-trade program, a carbon tax
can use money from industries that are not energy-efficient to create
economic benefits and incentives for those that that are wiser in their
energy use. The income generated by a carbon tax can be used to cut
income taxes, build more public transit, upgrade trains, develop
renewable-energy sources, and retrofit homes and buildings with
For 20 years, scientists have warned of the need for urgent action to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Leading economists have shown that the
cost to bring emissions down will be about one per cent of GDP
annually, while the costs incurred if we don’t reduce emissions could
be economically catastrophic.
When politicians, business people, and citizens show leadership by
proposing or implementing solutions to the very real problems facing
the planet (yes, more than 90 per cent certain is as real as it gets in
science), they deserve our support, not mockery and politically
motivated misinformation. Axe the tax, my ass!
Mussolini had his blackshirts
Hitler had his brownshirts.
Now we have to deal with the UN greenshirts,
and they are every bit as dangerous.
Just a few of the front men
Read Agenda 21