The provincial government recently elicited feedback from the citizens of British Columbia as part of a budgetary consultation process, specifically regarding taxes and climate change. My feedback was published in their report on at the bottom of page 27. The government is listening!
Governments generally view introducing a carbon tax as political suicide. I ask any politicians reading this, what do you value more, your own narrow self-interest or a sustainable, abundant and healthy future for generations to come? The choice is clear in my mind. I don’t know of an alternative fiscal instrument with the ability to touch every person, organization and industry in a way that will motivate change on the scale that is necessary to mitigate climate change. The majority of society will not go out of their way or adjust their lifestyle unless there is a financial stick on their behind or a carrot in front of them. It’s the where the majority of society is at in our collective evolution so let us accept that and get on with legislating a carbon tax.
A carbon tax could be designed to be relatively revenue neutral. It could be designed to reduce our collective income tax while making it increasingly expensive for those who continue to engage in carbon intensive activities. Cap and trade is our government’s other option which is a little easier sell in the political arena, thanks in part to Arnold Schwarzenegger’s pushing it up the West Coast. A Cap and Trade System is also a must have but is more geared to the big player’s like coal plants and the tar sands. It won’t be visible to the masses and it won’t put power in the people’s hands to make choices that are good for the environment and good for their bottom line.
Please take the time to learn the pros and cons of these powerful legislative tools and urge your local governments to take implement them before their term ends.