Sunday, July 6, 2008

Canada's opinion: carbon taxes

On Cross Country Checkup tonight (CBC radio every Sunday) the question was about carbon taxes, what do you think of the idea.

Gordon Campbell has instated a carbon tax in BC as of July 1, and Stephan Dion is talking about a carbon tax if the Liberals form the government (they say there might be an election in the fall). The Conservatives and the NDP are more in favour of a cap-and-trade system rather than a carbon tax, and I've heard a lot of debate about which is better or worse.

It was an animated discussion, opinions were all over the map. Rex Murphy is on summer vacation so someone else was hosting, he said in summation that it was interesting that no one talked about how this might fly in Alberta.

It seems like when the economy is good people say Yes, we think doing something about Climate Change is a good idea, but not much happens. Now that the economy is not good and one of the main reasons is rapidly rising oil prices, people are now very concerned about Climate Change and Peak Oil and how that is going change our world for the worse.

So on the one hand serious tax measures are being proposed that may actually have an impact on carbon emissions and getting off our fossil fuel addiction, and on the other people are saying, Hey wait a moment that's not fair, I can't afford this, you shouldn't raise taxes when the price of everything is already shooting up.

But if oil prices weren't rising then no one would be motivated to do something about it, we'd all be too complacent, life is going on just fine.

So lots of people are kicking and screaming about having to pay for it. I don't really blame them, I feel the same way, I don't really want to pay the price.

Several people spoke about carbon taxes versus a cap-and-trade system, and about whether or not it was fair for us to pay carbon taxes when India and China were not. Mark Jaccard spoke quite knowledgeably about the various possible approaches to curbing carbon emissions. I read one of his books a few years ago and he impresses me as a voice of reason, not particularly extreme in either direction. He seemed to be saying that both carbon taxes and a cap-and-trade system could work if done right.

But the bottom line is there's no free lunch. We're going to pay, one way or another.

I like that people can call in and say what they think and then listen to what other people think too. You're not alone. The whole country gets to participate in the debate. Two hours on a Sunday are not much, but better than nothing. And it's real people with real concerns that are talking, not journalists telling us what they think we are thinking.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amen, sistah! Here we have Rupert Murdoch controlling too much and telling "them" what to tell us. Scary.

I saw a great bumper sticker: "Stop talk radio: think for yourself!" This pertains to talking heads, not discussion shows as you mentioned.

You've got to wonder who is thinking all of this trough and which side they're on. Yikes!