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Why politicians must explain there are costs and sacrifices needed to combat climate change

Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

This is an important – essential – topic and I will bring it to a new thread. It belongs in the political because the conversation is essential in We need a realization that consumption and inequality levels are a threat to the human species and the leaders of the wealthiest countries have to ask there people to do with less if the planet is to survive.

I accept that this might be difficult, perhaps impossible. But this means that our survival may be exactly that difficult, if not impossible. I hope that a realization that we are staring over a cliff brings this change. I worry that it may come too late and that denial, a very human instinct might prevent it. I admit that the courage for world leaders to express this is enormous but I feel that once stated by the political structures it would be a logic impossible to completely ignore.

It is not just wealth that is concentrated beyond sustainable levels, the use of the planet’s resources and tolerance for pollution is also heavily concentrated. This is turned into material wealth for the fairly well off (not just extremely wealthy). This type of subsidy must be removed in order for the planet to survive on reduced sustainable consumption.

North Americans often prefer to point to a 1% of their population and pretend that this is the only place where excess lies. Those of us without any global context can choose to deny our role and limit the problem to these oligarchs. However, most of us are in the global 1% and the environment is a global issue not a national issue. There are a few studies on this one statistic sets an income of $32,400 US as the floor of the global 1%. This is roughly the bottom of what people here call the middle class. It is close or at the median Canadian income. So when we talk about the 1% in a global context we should make sure we have a mirror. This understanding is essential to progress.

http://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/050615/are-you-top-one-percent-world.asp

I am not saying that we have to have income parity in the world but we need to address the disparity as a part of creating an economic and social environment for climate action. This needs leadership and people are unprepared as we approach what will soon be a climate emergency. So long as there is no social license built from leadership that this is needed, people here will think that climate action involves government action that either will not affect them or be changes that are neutral with respect to lifestyle. We have to consider choices for sustainability that mean some short term excesses must be dialed back.

The idea that the planet can see reductions in emissions to safe limits without addressing the disproportionate wealth, consumption and footprint of well off people (including the average North American) is a significant obstacle. We have to reduce the footprint of humans on the planet drastically and quickly. We have to do so beyond what technology can accomplish in efficiency. This reduction cannot happen proportionately in all wealth/income levels because those at the bottom would find their lives too compromises. It means that those who have more, consume more, and waste more have to reduce more. I used the term sacrifice and I believe that this is a word that means you give up something you like in order to reach a greater good.
That greater good is not going to accrue to the most well off in proportion to what they have to give up because it would accrue equally to all peoples. But sacrifice is not always a negative thing and never has been. You sacrifice one thing to get something else. What we are talking about as a civilization is sacrificing things that tend to be more material in order to get things we value more -- like having a hope that our children's children might survive. We are at the point where our consumption remains a threat to the survival of our children's children. Perhaps our children and ourselves as well.

There are many nice things about a growth economy -- including the ability to manage a level of inequity without extreme hardship. When we can no longer grow in material, we have to ration. This is the response to shortage. Rationing in this context means the people who use the most, regardless of their privilege and status will have to learn to use less and they will not have an immediate material benefit in exchange.

We can grow the economy of non-material things so that the wealthy can have places to enjoy and express their wealth other than through material and pollution excess. Unfortunately, while benefits may be explored the rate of conversion from a wasteful world to an unlimited one (culture and thought) will involve a sacrifice because it takes time to make the change.

The sacrifice I am talking about is not unpalatable. It will not stop us from having happy lives if we do it. But it will mean that we have to give up a lot of the excess we are use to and as we do this some of the disproportionate inequality will need to be closed – to give the planet the time. Once we have a less material world economy with other values, there is no doubt that the competitive human will increase inequality in that area perhaps to the levels it is now. But the present inequality in a material world will surely kill us if we do not take steps to reduce it with sacrifices from the global 1% (read those with incomes of $32,400 and above).

It is true that we can and may ignore these realities. There is nothing saying that human civilization must endure. It has been said for a long time that human greed is the greatest threat to the continuation of the species. If we are able to check this greed a difference may be made but it is also true that we may not do that.

This is why I have argued -- and will not stop arguing  -- that there is a direct connection between social justice, inequality and environmental sustainability. This is tied directly to racism and sexism as planet resources are very much disproportionately tied to amuse and bring enjoyment to a wealthy, older, male white demographic. Most of us acknowledge these injustice exist but when we reach limits to growth and limits to the capacity to absorb pollution we have a direct relationship between these injustices and environmental sustainability. Sustainability when it comes to climate change means we can’t keep doing something. Now of course we can until we go extinct but what unsustainable wealth concentration and pollution means is that we cannot continue and survive.

Some people will never grasp the gravity of the situation and want to deny the essential connections between social sustainability and environmental sustainability as the planet has to consume less material and pollute less. But this message is one that is at the core of my political and social vision. I have read much about it and even edited and published on it. I am not about to stop this argument generally. I do accept that there are people who will want to fight this until the very end and sadly some of them might even come to progressive websites and even pretend to be progressive.

When it comes to what the planet must do -- these people are noise. We have to argue with them sometimes and may do so as walking away from this fight is to accept extinction as the only possible outcome. But this does not mean that we may not walk away from particular exchanges that are not productive and are just wasteful as we realize these people are not part of the solution, they are there to distract and advance their own propaganda. So sometimes I think we have to engage and sometimes we can't continue to answer. They will declare a deluded victory in those moments and we can hope that satisfies them for a bit. But it is important to talk about these things.

Those who are interested might want to read Life, Money and Illusion a book I edited for Mike Nickerson: http://www.newsociety.com/Books/L/Life-Money-and-Illusion

The book takes a positive outlook but certainly recognizes that we cannot live as we have in the past and we will need to sacrifice some things to gain others. Technology cannot preserve equivalent functions and benefits – we have to look to others. It also addresses the connection between money, wealth, materialism and the environment.

I will close by saying when people recognize a reason they are willing to sacrifice. Many air travelers willingly give up conveniences in exchange for a perception of safer travel. We just might convince people of the sacrifices needed materially in order to secure the more important good- our survival. Our political leaders must start talking about this and that was the argument I made that started the latest conflict between a progressive vision and a pretend progressive vision. This concept has long been accepted as foundational among progressive people – this link and need to address sustainability and inequality at the same time. It is remarkable that it would be necessary to argue this here.


Comments

Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

I think it may be even better if this thread could focus on how to build that communication to build support for this. How to improve the link for the public. What kind of specific changes must and can we consider.

I have objected to the global failure for politicians to acknowledge that essential change includes costs. What srtategies could they use to link the benefits (of not going extinct) to the costs and inconvenience.

The problem with putting a price on carbon is that it is an incomplete strategy when you consider that some are in a much greater position to pay that price: some can still afford to waste and some lose essentials. This problem is reflected in the debate surrounding hydro costs in Ontario for example. It is driving conservative among a sliver of people -- those who can afford and can access mitigation. Those who have more money are not pushed by these rates (they may morally but not the rate driver as much) and those who ahve less money may not be able to make the investments.

When it comes to cars -- fees for driving cars in cities, limitations on their use, increased cost to pay for environment saving features.

Once we acknowledge taht there is a price for what needs to be done we may also be able to consider greater efforts to mitigate this.

Socially we need to connect inequality to the climate change work -- an example of this might include tax grants to those who need them to be involved in conservation etc. We may want to look at taxing houses differently to address the footprint. For example have an environmental surtax on houses with exemptions of a certain square footage per resident. So a house that is underused in square footage face additional tax -- perhaps encouraging room rentals where more people could live in space already being heated/cooled serviced etc. Likewise with cars. The size of the cars might be proportionately taxed according to the size of the family. A single person driving a land boat should pay more considering the waste.

As I say sacrifice is needed becuase what is happening now is not sustainable even with technology mitigation. A disussion of where those sacrifices are planned to be is important to make sure they are bearable is important.

A recognition that lower income people are not in a position as much as higher income people to make decisions based on moral/environmental grounds. Direct help is one option but raising the lowest incomes will have a positive effect on their capacity to be involved.

Direct assistance to countries who cannot afford environmental mitigation as much as others must become a new focus for international aid together with other social needs -- housing, food, medicine etc.

This is the direction I would like a conversation to go here if anyone is happy to go there  -- among those who already recognize the scale of the problem and the scale of the required response. We need to integrate responses into a recognition of the implications of the degree of inequality we now have.


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

I had been hoping to discuss this later direction but was blown off into defending recognition of the problem itself. Like other kinds of climate denial -- you are prevented from discussing making progress when you have denials of the problem itself.

It has been a drag on the Climate Change conversation to have to spend decades of argument establishign that the problem exists that would have better been spent on addressing it. I feel that the same exists with the connection between inequality and the environment and the need to do with less. We can either work to mitigate it or we can fight a rearguard action for the next few decades over whether it exists. The latter means we do nothing.

This is connected to the seeds of doubt theory. If you cannot deny outright -- create seeds of doubt just enough to stymie progress. Have people running around proving and re-proving what most know exists so that we cannot more forward.


Mighty Middle
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Joined: Apr 20 2016

Kathleen Wynne should take you advice as the Toronto Sun and columnist Christina Blizzard slam Green Energy every chamnce they get. Writing that it is driving electricty and hydro bills through the roof. And saying that the first thing Ontario needs to do dismantle all wind turbines and all solar energy panels. Thus save Ontarians money on their home heating bills and electrical costs.


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

Mighty Middle wrote:

Kathleen Wynne should take you advice as the Toronto Sun and columnist Christina Blizzard slam Green Energy every chamnce they get. Writing that it is driving electricty and hydro bills through the roof. And saying that the first thing Ontario needs to do dismantle all wind turbines and all solar energy panels. Thus save Ontarians money on their home heating bills and electrical costs.

You are correct. This is part of the problem. When you accept that there is cost you can link higher hydro to it. But you also have to be responsible in terms of the mitigation and while the Liberals have tried some things they have not done a good job and over-complicated the process lacking transparency and accountability.

There is no doubt, however, that the price increase has reduced consumption -- just not in an efficient, transparent and fair way. so now they have to go back to the drawing board and produce better ways to reduce consumption than across the board increases.

One way could be some form of rationing of low cost hydro. A low rate for the first x kwh used and allow for more if they are heating with it. Connect this to number of residents. Require high commercial consumers to be audited for waste in order to reduce consumption without relying only on price. These measures have been used in Ontario in the past just not as effecitvley as they could.

To backtrack on the price hammer without implementing anything else could drive energy and emissions up.

Once you acknowledge that there is a cost to change you can work on strategies to mitigate and policies to help. Another way some prefer to address hydro is just to let costs rise and use home heating grants to increase affordability -- they are partly doing this. The grants could even be paid direct to hydro companies so that there are no cash flow issues.

But the Ontario government has failed to say -- "there is a big cost so let's talk about how we do it" they just pretended it might get better and mismanaged the PR down the line. In this case some of the problem is political management and some mitigation. The Conservative supporters who are complaining the most about hydro rates are the better off people the government should have said you are going to pay more so that there will be a future for everyone. The government should have built the social license to do that -- instead they may lose the next election over it.

The problem is the government did not level with the people and say there are going to be sacrifices for many of you -- you will have to pay more for energy is just one. If they had then there would have been a public discussion about who, how much, the effects, the efficiency of the plan, who would get mitigation and of course as I said the inequality issue as for some people it interferes with their ability to provide necessities and is just unfair.

The Liberals in Ontario have mismanaged the energy file but that is only part of the cost issue. They have also mismanaged the PR file and do not have public support for higher rates to control use becuase they never actually asked for it. They blamed rates on a variety of things but were never upfront saying this is the price of needed change. Buckle up. And here is the rest of the plan.

But I do not want to sound too negative. On hydro rates in many respects the government is not wrong in terms of some of the ideas.

If you are calling for a price on carbon then you should express hydro to cost more. But let's talk about income inequality when we have to price higher necessities.


Pondering
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Joined: Jun 14 2013

I'm not very familiar with the Hydro issues of Ontario but I got the impression that corruption not inherent costs of alternate energy sources impacted hydro rates.

Is anyone factoring the financial benefits of fewer health problems with green energy given that we have a public health care system? What would have been the costs of building a new nuclear plant or continuing with coal?

Anything printed by the MSN is suspect. I trust the Leap Manifesto's economic cost/benefit evaluation before I would anything the MSM has to say about transitioning to sustainable living.

People have adjusted to increased food prices due to the drop in the dollar's value as a result of the new cheap oil crisis but they would not have done so voluntarily.

I'd say the biggest problem "progressives" have is that they do not understand the general public. If neoliberals had insisted on convincing the public to choose neoliberalism as a philosophy they would have lost yet progressives insist on trying to convert people with long-winded moral arguments instead of using the arguments that do work.

If we are doomed unless worldwide politicians "see the light" and start governing for the poor rather than the wealthy they we are doomed so we might as well enjoy the ride.


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

A timely article for this thread:

Politicians are green until they're intimidated by the electoral price: Don Pittis

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/disruption-climate-change-economy-1.3761655

 

"But rather than speeding us through a capitalist-led transformation to a high-tech low-carbon economy, politicians seem to be getting cold feet, fearful that voters won't accept the short-term pain of the costs involved."

"But in a democracy, politicians can't act alone. Without loud voices of political support, environmentally inclined governments quite rightly fear they will be pitched out and replaced by those willing to sacrifice the future to relieve short-term pain. "

Yikes -- that word sacrifice. Only in this case it is referenced in the reverse -- sacrificing the future to avoid -- short term pain. So connection between short term pain and survival very clear.

I appreciate that some journalists are at least addressing the fact that there are costs and politicians and the public need to be prepared for them.

We need this direct conversation because people will definitely not accept pain or sacrifices unless they know what they are for and why they are unavoidable.

The same article references Wynne retreating from using price to control hydro demand. The thing is the Liberals in Ontario are not wrong to use price as a lever. The problem is the communications were mismanaged, other scandals were involved, mitigation for the vulnerable was botched. So now we have the Conservatives calling any Green energy wasteful and proposing to scrap all of it. What a mess. The Liberals in Ontario need to start some straight talk about what is at stake and exactly what the population has to bear to get there. Announcing a price increase with every second bill and nothing must else has infuriated the population because it came without a real conversation about energy and the position we are in. They should have had town halls on this and put their cards on the table. The energy file being screwed up by the PC party did not help and with the OLP having botched communications, created scandals, left people unprepared, and did nothing for those who need it most, the PCs will get a chance to get their turn at the wrecking ball.

Isn't it funny that with all this flailing around the government of Ontario could not table improvements to rental housing legislation to set standards for units where the landlord does not pay for energy and so has little incentive to improve efficiency?

Current legislation for existing units remains limited to: the landlord has to make it possible to get the temperature up to room temperature (at whatever cost it does not matter) and the weather envelope has to keep the place dry. Jacking energy rates without addressing this is pathetic weak standard is absolutely incompetent from this government. I have been writing them letters on this topic for more than ten years. So now the PC party's crew will get to come in and throw out anything the Liberals did that might have been working.

And the red and blue tag team continue to screw those who need help and the planet by incompetence on one hand and design on the other.

When it comes to the environment Wynne is a believer. She fits into the category of with friends like this you do not need enemies  -- but the environment does have enemies and they are leading in the polls right now.

 


Rev Pesky
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Joined: May 1 2012

There is indeed a simple solution to the problem of people opposing carbon taxes, or pricing. That is, a cap and ration system.

Every individual gets a ration, and then can either use it, or sell it (or parts of it).

So the wealthy would get the same ration as the poor, but the poor could sell a portion of their ration to the wealthy. I can tell you that this simple policy would be a real winner with the average citizen.

At the same time, one could cap the overall emissions, and gradually reduce them as time (and infrastructure) allowed. All of the necessary technology already exists to accomplish this, and as I say, no politician would have a hard time selling this to the voters.

What the voters fear is that existing carbon pricing will cost them money, which is absolutely true. Show them a system that can make them money, and they'll welcome it with open arms.


Pondering
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Joined: Jun 14 2013

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

A timely article for this thread:

Politicians are green until they're intimidated by the electoral price: Don Pittis

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/disruption-climate-change-economy-1.3761655

 

"But rather than speeding us through a capitalist-led transformation to a high-tech low-carbon economy, politicians seem to be getting cold feet, fearful that voters won't accept the short-term pain of the costs involved."

"But in a democracy, politicians can't act alone. Without loud voices of political support, environmentally inclined governments quite rightly fear they will be pitched out and replaced by those willing to sacrifice the future to relieve short-term pain. "

Yikes -- that word sacrifice. Only in this case it is referenced in the reverse -- sacrificing the future to avoid -- short term pain. So connection between short term pain and survival very clear.

You seem to have missed this part of the article:

Nobody said fighting climate change would be easy. But despite some enormous difficulties, we may be just on the verge of a tipping point that experts say will be good for business and good for the entire economy.

Signs are everywhere, but there were two transformational announcements just this week.

Only three years ago when I wrote about the Tesla battery-powered automotive revolution, doubters outnumbered supporters of the idea. The skeptics said electric cars were too expensive, too short-range and technically impractical.

Now the world's largest car companies have joined the race to perfect the battery-powered car. This week, U.S. giant General Motors released the all-electric Bolt, with a range of nearly 400 kilometres, outdoing Tesla.

On the Scottish island of Gigha, a company called redT is installing something called vanadium flow batteries that the company says will prove the technology is ready for widespread commercial use.

"The technology has moved faster than anyone has expected," company chief executive Scott McGregor told the Financial Times.

Electric cars and vanadium storage may not yet be in a state of perfection, but they are two examples in a single week that show that technology being created by disruptive industries is advancing by leaps and bounds.


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

Rev Pesky wrote:

There is indeed a simple solution to the problem of people opposing carbon taxes, or pricing. That is, a cap and ration system.

Every individual gets a ration, and then can either use it, or sell it (or parts of it).

So the wealthy would get the same ration as the poor, but the poor could sell a portion of their ration to the wealthy. I can tell you that this simple policy would be a real winner with the average citizen.

At the same time, one could cap the overall emissions, and gradually reduce them as time (and infrastructure) allowed. All of the necessary technology already exists to accomplish this, and as I say, no politician would have a hard time selling this to the voters.

What the voters fear is that existing carbon pricing will cost them money, which is absolutely true. Show them a system that can make them money, and they'll welcome it with open arms.

Sure and we could have the poor sell their share of fresh water too. After all they already sell their labour cheap right? They could just sell their organs on the open market as well. Sure then the exploitation and injustice will stop. Right?


Rev Pesky
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Joined: May 1 2012

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Rev Pesky wrote:

There is indeed a simple solution to the problem of people opposing carbon taxes, or pricing. That is, a cap and ration system.

Every individual gets a ration, and then can either use it, or sell it (or parts of it).

So the wealthy would get the same ration as the poor, but the poor could sell a portion of their ration to the wealthy. I can tell you that this simple policy would be a real winner with the average citizen.

At the same time, one could cap the overall emissions, and gradually reduce them as time (and infrastructure) allowed. All of the necessary technology already exists to accomplish this, and as I say, no politician would have a hard time selling this to the voters.

What the voters fear is that existing carbon pricing will cost them money, which is absolutely true. Show them a system that can make them money, and they'll welcome it with open arms.

Sure and we could have the poor sell their share of fresh water too. After all they already sell their labour cheap right? They could just sell their organs on the open market as well. Sure then the exploitation and injustice will stop. Right?

I'll just point out that it's the poor who will be the first victims of carbon pricing. They are the ones who will have to forego rent and food and any number of other things because a greater share of the little they have will be going into paying for carbon emissions.

Perhaps you could explain to me why that scenario is preferable to the one I describe, where the poor will receive money instead of paying it out.

I should point out that the poor in this country are not the biggest emitters, they are the smallest. They are not the problem, yet carbon pricing will affect them the first and the most.


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

Rev Pesky wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:

Rev Pesky wrote:

There is indeed a simple solution to the problem of people opposing carbon taxes, or pricing. That is, a cap and ration system.

Every individual gets a ration, and then can either use it, or sell it (or parts of it).

So the wealthy would get the same ration as the poor, but the poor could sell a portion of their ration to the wealthy. I can tell you that this simple policy would be a real winner with the average citizen.

At the same time, one could cap the overall emissions, and gradually reduce them as time (and infrastructure) allowed. All of the necessary technology already exists to accomplish this, and as I say, no politician would have a hard time selling this to the voters.

What the voters fear is that existing carbon pricing will cost them money, which is absolutely true. Show them a system that can make them money, and they'll welcome it with open arms.

Sure and we could have the poor sell their share of fresh water too. After all they already sell their labour cheap right? They could just sell their organs on the open market as well. Sure then the exploitation and injustice will stop. Right?

I'll just point out that it's the poor who will be the first victims of carbon pricing. They are the ones who will have to forego rent and food and any number of other things because a greater share of the little they have will be going into paying for carbon emissions.

Perhaps you could explain to me why that scenario is preferable to the one I describe, where the poor will receive money instead of paying it out.

I should point out that the poor in this country are not the biggest emitters, they are the smallest. They are not the problem, yet carbon pricing will affect them the first and the most.

Since I have been speaking all along about mitigation and the problem of inequality -- what part of your comment were you thinking I did not understand?

I am the one that has been arguing here for the last couple days that you cannot seperate the problem of inequality from the climate change debate. I am glad you noticed but to write what you just did after all I said about this is quite breathtaking.


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002

A lot of the reason for waste, and for people in urban areas to have to spend so much money on a car and its fuel, and on home heating, is poor planning. In the postwar area, a need for individual cars and houses was created, and any serious "degrowth" movement that doesn't have a serious adverse effect of the lives of ordinary people involves better planning, densification (while also greening by planting more trees and other measures), the development of modern public transport and cycle paths, and above all walkable neighbourhoods where people need not use a car for everyday errands.

Other than artificial needs created by advertising, another reason for overconsumption is how shoddy goods are, and paying more for these doesn't necessarily mean a better and longer-lasting items.

One thing to keep in mind is that aspirations change with generations.

 

 


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

lagatta wrote:

A lot of the reason for waste, and for people in urban areas to have to spend so much money on a car and its fuel, and on home heating, is poor planning. In the postwar area, a need for individual cars and houses was created, and any serious "degrowth" movement that doesn't have a serious adverse effect of the lives of ordinary people involves better planning, densification (while also greening by planting more trees and other measures), the development of modern public transport and cycle paths, and above all walkable neighbourhoods where people need not use a car for everyday errands.

Other than artificial needs created by advertising, another reason for overconsumption is how shoddy goods are, and paying more for these doesn't necessarily mean a better and longer-lasting items.

One thing to keep in mind is that aspirations change with generations.

 

 

All true. And mitigation can reduce a lot of the pain of adjustment that remains. If we put the idea that there are costs and face them these costs can be reduced.

In Ottawa due to cyclist deaths there is a controversy regarding having bike lanes on some streets that are too narrow. One solution would be to turn a downtown street into cycle only. and have cyclists walk bikes on sidewalks to get over a block or so. Cycle only spaces are needed I think.

I agree with the waste of resources to prouce throw away shoddy products. This has become part of the culture and stems from the perception of Asian cheap goods: "North American: how much to build x. Asian producer: $5. North American: Great do it for $3. Gee why is it so poor quality?" From there the branding of cheap has meant that in China's case it has had difficulty selling better quality products as people expect low quality cheap. There was a Chinese coat company that came in and tried to sell great quality coats. After two years they left. Perhaps we may need some legislation required for products requiring longer warranties and better quality or force the companies to take it back. The problem is this is a huge issue for trade becuase people want cheap and don't or can't pay attention to quality. The retail market is global and legislation in Canada might just turn people to overseas purchases. I agree this is a difficult problem perhaps without any jurisdictional authority big enough to take it on. Far too much in landfill represents stuff that is not obsolete, or abused but rather prematurely worn out or broken. To not waste resources we might have to sacrifice some features for better build quality.

Personally I buy very little new. I pick quality among used store offerings and most people I know would not know unless I told them. I also have a taste for quality antiques that I might refinish so modern stuff that won't last rarely comes in my house. Of course the economy says I am a poor consumer. I spend less than anyone else I know on this kind of stuff although I do have collections of things I have inherited and added to so I can't lay any claim to the simplicity kick.

 


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002

All my furniture except my mattress and some other things that must be bought new nowadays (bedbugs), is second-hand, and most of it is very nice indeed. I don't always buy clothing second-hand though; I find it hard to find things to fit; I think this is more often a problem for women, however there is more second-hand women's clothing as more men keep their stuff until it wears out.

Cyclists will NOT get off their bikes and push them on sidewalks, any more than drivers will push their cars. A trip to Amsterdam will show you how they deal with streets in the historic centre that are narrower than anything in Ottawa. We have some comparable streets in old Québec (though it is newer than the very centre of Amsterdam) and a few in Mtl. Not in Ottawa. Shared narrow streets require very low speed limits for all.

Most of the cyclists and pedestrians killed here recently were killed by heavy trucks. There are many measures standard in other countries that could be taken to minimize this risk.


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

lagatta wrote:

All my furniture except my mattress and some other things that must be bought new nowadays (bedbugs), is second-hand, and most of it is very nice indeed. I don't always buy clothing second-hand though; I find it hard to find things to fit; I think this is more often a problem for women, however there is more second-hand women's clothing as more men keep their stuff until it wears out.

Cyclists will NOT get off their bikes and push them on sidewalks, any more than drivers will push their cars. A trip to Amsterdam will show you how they deal with streets in the historic centre that are narrower than anything in Ottawa. We have some comparable streets in old Québec (though it is newer than the very centre of Amsterdam) and a few in Mtl. Not in Ottawa. Shared narrow streets require very low speed limits for all.

Most of the cyclists and pedestrians killed here recently were killed by heavy trucks. There are many measures standard in other countries that could be taken to minimize this risk.

I think practical men's clothes are actually more plenitful than women's in the stores I go to. I say this as I go with female family members and they always have more difficulty than I do on this score. Fashion changes are often more radical making some things quickly impossible to wear (another conversation). But I would say on balance it appears to me to be easier for men.

If a cyclist hits a pedestrian they are less likely to kill them than if a car hits a cyclist. I am less worried about cyclists breaking a law than a truck. Ottawa does have a problem with a trucking free-for-all trucks go on all streets. There are ways to mitigate this. I agree that there are basic measures standards but I feel there could be some main arteries that are cycle only and this would increase the use of bikes. Having seen a bike hit ice and slide sideways this is something I think that here in Ottawa would make a lot of sense. One good north south bike only street and one good east west in the core. The streets in the Ottawa core are harder to reduce speed on -- I think than a narrow historic centre in my opinion. Truck traffic on those streets and the sharing of lanes at intersections is a bigger problem. If lower speeds will not prevent turning issues in my opinion. Seperate lights for cyclists might be a possibility so they go through while the cars and trucks have a red. I am not a planner but I feel something more should be done than just unprotected lanes, shared lights and speed limits.

 


Rev Pesky
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Joined: May 1 2012

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...Since I have been speaking all along about mitigation and the problem of inequality -- what part of your comment were you thinking I did not understand?

I am the one that has been arguing here for the last couple days that you cannot seperate the problem of inequality from the climate change debate. I am glad you noticed but to write what you just did after all I said about this is quite breathtaking.

Here are some Yes/No questions that every conservationist should answer, if only to themselves/

Does every individual have the same right to create carbon emissions?

Is it necessary to cap carbon emissions?

Do flat taxes disproportionatly affect the poor?

If you have answered yes to these three questions, which I'm assuming you would, it becomes clear that carbon taxes are not the answer to the problem of carbon emissions.

My solution is to simply apply a hard cap on emissions, and apportion the allowable emissions equally to all individuals.

It is a fact that many people do not produce their fair share of emissions. Thus they would have the opportunity to sell a portion of their share of emissions back into the system, to be purchased by someone who wanted them.

This system has now established a number of things.

A hard cap on emissions, and a cap which could be lowered each year.

A real market for emissions.

A real monetary benefit for those who currently are not producing emissions at the same rate as others.

So what's the problem with this system? I suspect 'greens' don't like it because it doesn't make the poor pay a carbon tax. Yet it satisfies all the requirements of the need to restrain carbon emissions, including the requirement that voters will go for it.


Michael Moriarity
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Joined: Jul 27 2001

Rev, you didn't mention any allocation of emission rations to businesses, only to individuals. Are we to infer that businesses would be forced to buy all their emission rations on the open market, ultimately from many individuals? Or something else?


Pondering
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Joined: Jun 14 2013

No one has agree with the main point of your argument, that politicians, worldwide, must sell sacrifice in order to successfully battle climate change and that specifically, the worldwide 1% to which we belong must sacrifice in order for others to have more.

No one has engaged this argument with you as sincerely and throughly as I have. True I disagree with you, but I gave you the respect of fully engaging with your argument and countering with my own rather than ignoring you.

Lagatta's points are right on the money.

lagatta wrote:

A lot of the reason for waste, and for people in urban areas to have to spend so much money on a car and its fuel, and on home heating, is poor planning. In the postwar area, a need for individual cars and houses was created, and any serious "degrowth" movement that doesn't have a serious adverse effect of the lives of ordinary people involves better planning, densification (while also greening by planting more trees and other measures), the development of modern public transport and cycle paths, and above all walkable neighbourhoods where people need not use a car for everyday errands.

Other than artificial needs created by advertising, another reason for overconsumption is how shoddy goods are, and paying more for these doesn't necessarily mean a better and longer-lasting items.

One thing to keep in mind is that aspirations change with generations.

Notice there is nothing there about sacrificing.

You responded with:

Perhaps we may need some legislation required for products requiring longer warranties and better quality or force the companies to take it back. The problem is this is a huge issue for trade becuase people want cheap and don't or can't pay attention to quality.

That is an excellent solution but it is not true that people just want cheap and don't or can't pay attention to quality. I remember when the tarifs were being taken off of shoes I was delighted because with narrow feet I only found French and Italian footwear comfortable plus good running shoes like Nikes would become cheaper because they could off-shore production. Well they off-shored production but quality footwear didn't get any cheaper. They just added super cheap footwear to the mix. The Bangladesh factory collapse illustrated that it wasn't just Joe Fresh manufacturing there so were expensive name brands. They just didn't pass the savings onto consumers.

Companies today are not too big to fail, they are too big to compete against. The price of goods often has little to do with the cost of production. Corporations are nested to create firewalls so that only divisions can fail while the mother corporation, for example Dupont, is protected from financial vulnerability while reaping the profits.

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2016/09/16/canadian-ceo-pay-average-worker_...

The first group of CEOs made an average of $7.89 million last year — 159 times more than the Canadian average industrial wage of $49,510.

Average compensation among the second group was $4.13 million, 83 times the average industrial wage.

....

Earlier this year, a study by analytics firm MSCI found that companies made 39 per cent more when CEOs were paid below the median levels in their sectors.

The NDP recently noted (Weir?) that corporate taxes have been cut in half since 2000.

What we need to do is take power over government away from corporations so that politicians become beholden to the people. The NDP is the only party with a reasonable chance of turning their guns against corporate power and there is an ideal target available. Trade deals, and I don't mean just the investor clause.

Just like pulling the right thread takes apart an entire seam so too can finding the vulnerability of neoliberalism bring down the house of cards. No amount of convincing politicians to preach sacrifice to the public will do an iota of good while corporations wield as much power as they do over government.


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

Rev Pesky wrote:

 

If you have answered yes to these three questions, which I'm assuming you would, it becomes clear that carbon taxes are not the answer to the problem of carbon emissions.

 

I disagree with your approach becuase you are ignoring two essential facts --

1) that the wealthiest waste the most carbon and have the most choices and therefore have the greatest capacity as individuals to change

2) that economic measures -- either a carbon tax; a carbon quota selling system; or increased prices will create disproportioantely more hardship for poorer people than wealthy people while creating disproportionately less incentive depending on how much money you have.

If you commercialize individual quotas then people who are poor will be disproportionately pressured to sell not only what they do not need but also what they do. The market will adjust as it does and eventually poorer people will be unable to keep them. Worse, wealthy people will easily be able to buy enough to waste and we will have done nothing but create pressure and hardship for the poorest.

You cannot just give everyone the license to create polution and create change unless there is a shortage of that licensed product. That shortage will have to cost if it is a market and the price you put on it is problematic in the context of significant inequity since any amount reasonable for a poor person will be insignificant in terms of motivation for a wealthy person.

All of these three approaches amount to putting a price on carbon -- either as a tax, an increase of commercializing it so anyone can buy it. They all have the weakness that people who have the least will be the most vulnerable.

My point is that failing to address the roots of problems with equity is an obstacle to addressing climate change effectively.You have top address the inequity in whatever plan you devise.

Now if you use a cap and trade system combined with the tax system there might be a way to devise something to account for this. So if you purchased your credits from the government and the government supplied lower income people with some for free and a lower rate to buy more while selling them to higher income people for more then the government can find a price on carbon tied to econmic means so everyone can afford it but nobody can afford to waste it.

This is one example of accounting for inequity or addressing it -- at least in the context of climate change efforts.


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

Pondering I am not here to engage with you. If I cannot interest others with what I write I will stop posting. For now I will keep being optimistic that I can engage with other people where there is some mutual respect and a sense of value from the exchange. I remind myself why I should not try to get into any topic with you -- it does not end well, there is no goodwill, and no respect.

So let's not be mean but let's not think we can have ANY positive exchanges. We don't like or respect each other. So why don't you try to engage with those who you can have a productive conversation with and I will do the same? This way the nastiness can be avoided. Isn't it better on both sides that way? We have nothing to offer or learn from each other.

Thanks.


Rev Pesky
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Joined: May 1 2012

Michael Moriarity wrote:

Rev, you didn't mention any allocation of emission rations to businesses, only to individuals. Are we to infer that businesses would be forced to buy all their emission rations on the open market, ultimately from many individuals? Or something else

Business would have to purchase carbon emission rights from the rationing agency. In a sense this is no different for them than having to pay a carbon tax. Of course it would put them in a position of having to bid for the rights to emit, something to which they are opposed.  But other resources are distributed the same way. For instance, wireless spectrum is sold by auction. Or the way TFL's were awarded in BC. In fact many different 'rights' have been distributed by auction or fiat. So that wouldn't be a lot different.

It would  be very easy to determine what an individual would need in terms of carbon emissions in order to maintain a reasonable life. In fact it's probably already well-known. It should be clear that a considerable portion of emission rights could be held back, reserved, if you will, in order be available for business. After all, if you're setting a hard cap at current levels, the cap includes all emissions that are created by business.

It might take a year or two to determine some of the fine details, but the principle should still be the same. Each individual has an equal right to emit. That is fundamental. Buinesses could buy that right, or portions thereof, from individuals (through the rationing agency).

Keeping track of individual consumption would be very simple. Each person has a piece of plastic, like their 'loyalty card', which they use each time they fuel up the family car, or buy heating fuel, etc. Because the right to emit for business is already included in the price of their products, nothing further needs be done.

The weak point is imported products. How to incorporate the emissions created by those products into the system. This would have to be done, but I don't think it's impossible. We already have a variety of requirements for imported products, so an emissions statement for a product could be done. No different than a calorie statement that already appears on every product.

It might take some time to accomplish that part of the system, but the fact is that imported products are coming into the country now without anyone counting the emissions. There's no indication of how a carbon tax would be applied to the emissions created by imported products, so the system I propose wouldn't be any different in that respect.  

What I want more than anything is for people to start thinking of carbon emissions in terms of individuals. If we do that, we recognize very quickly that we create many times more emissions than almost anyone around the world. What's the daily carbon footprint of a person in Mexico, Lebanon, India, Libya, France, Japan, Jamaica, etc.? It doesn't take much research to realize, as Sean in Ottawa has, that we are the problem, not the third world, or even the 'second' world.

Secondly, I want any system that is put in place to be equal for all. Carbon taxes are not. They are a flat tax, and flat taxes affect the poorest the most. In addition to that, check out the BC carbon tax, which has been nothing more than a scam to redistribute money from the poorest to the wealthiest. You ask where the BC carbon tax money goes, the government says there isn't any carbon tax money. In fact, according to them it's negative tax. What happens is they collect it, then redistribute it as tax cuts for business. So we definitely don't want that to happen to a larger carbon tax.

Thirdly, I think it would be a lot easier to sell to the voters than a carbon tax, which voters fear is just a tax grab that won't accomplish anything. In that, they are absolutely correct. A couple of SFU profs tried to sell the BC carbon tax as responsible for cutting fuel use in BC, but their argument falls apart because gasoline is cheaper now that what it was when the carbon tax was introduced. They had to fall back (when that one fact was pointed out) on the ridiculous argument that people knew they were paying more tax, even if the over price was lower, and so constrained their consumption. Ha, ha, ha.

And the fact is, fuel use in BC is rising, so the whole argument is nothing but wishful thinking on their part.

Lastly, and I see another article today in the business press on this,  because the carbon tax has not resulted in reduced consumption, the only answer is to raise the tax. And once again the poorest get the shaft, while the wealthy sail along in their Hummers.

 


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

Rev Pesky wrote:

 

I want any system that is put in place to be equal for all.

Does not matter what mechanism you use to put a price on carbon -- the same problem is there with inequality unless the price on carbon is progressively more expensive depending on your wealth. You can't avoid this.

It comes back to my point that you cannot address climate change without engaging in the issue of inequality.

Inequality is so great that you cannot set a price high enough to create an incentive among the wealthy that will not create unbearable hardship on the poor. This is true about countries as well as individuals.

It comes back to my thesis -- climate change and inequality are inextricably linked and policy needs to address both issues in order to have progress on either.

and this is not my idea and it is shared widely. It is shocking to me to even have to debate it here. It is as obvious as climate change itself and denying the link just as foolish.


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

Our poorest communities that have no access to the power grid and require diesel generators would be really screwed.  WHo in this brave new future pays the carbon tax  for heating in rentals. the renter or the landlord. If its the renter and the house has an oil based heating system then they would just be out of luck and likely have to move into a tent in December.


Rev Pesky
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Joined: May 1 2012

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...I disagree with your approach becuase you are ignoring two essential facts --

1) that the wealthiest waste the most carbon and have the most choices and therefore have the greatest capacity as individuals to change

2) that economic measures -- either a carbon tax; a carbon quota selling system; or increased prices will create disproportioantely more hardship for poorer people than wealthy people while creating disproportionately less incentive depending on how much money you have.

Wealthy people don't 'waste carbon', they create carbon emissions. Their behaviours may be wasteful.

Please explain to me how giving the same amount of emissions credit to everyone is creating hardship for the poor. That doesn't make an iota of sense. With the system I propose, the poor would suddenly have something they never had before. That is, the equal right to create carbon emissions, which they do not have now. How is that making them more poor?

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...If you commercialize individual quotas then people who are poor will be disproportionately pressured to sell not only what they do not need but also what they do. The market will adjust as it does and eventually poorer people will be unable to keep them. Worse, wealthy people will easily be able to buy enough to waste and we will have done nothing but create pressure and hardship for the poorest.

Again, this is an argument that makes no sense. The poor don't have anything now. How would giving them more rights to emit result in them having less?

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...You cannot just give everyone the license to create polution and create change unless there is a shortage of that licensed product. That shortage will have to cost if it is a market and the price you put on it is problematic in the context of significant inequity since any amount reasonable for a poor person will be insignificant in terms of motivation for a wealthy person.

And that is why there needs to be a hard cap, and rationing. I'll point out that rationing has been done in the past in Canada to prevent price gouging. 

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...All of these three approaches amount to putting a price on carbon -- either as a tax, an increase of commercializing it so anyone can buy it. They all have the weakness that people who have the least will be the most vulnerable.

My point is that failing to address the roots of problems with equity is an obstacle to addressing climate change effectively.You have top address the inequity in whatever plan you devise.

I address it by giving each individual the same amount of emissions credit. How does a carbon tax do it?

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...Now if you use a cap and trade system combined with the tax system there might be a way to devise something to account for this. So if you purchased your credits from the government and the government supplied lower income people with some for free and a lower rate to buy more while selling them to higher income people for more then the government can find a price on carbon tied to econmic means so everyone can afford it but nobody can afford to waste it.

This is one example of accounting for inequity or addressing it -- at least in the context of climate change efforts.

The only difference between the above and my proposal is that all people would be given (for free) an equal amount of emissions credit. Those who wished to use more would have to buy it from those who either didn't need it or didn't want it. Price established by the highest bidder.

I will just say once more that my proposal assumes a hard cap on emissions. That is the 'shortage' of which you speak. If you don't think there will be a hard cap, then yes, my scheme will not work. But I'll point out that if there is no hard cap, nothing will work.

 


Rev Pesky
Offline
Joined: May 1 2012

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Our poorest communities that have no access to the power grid and require diesel generators would be really screwed.  WHo in this brave new future pays the carbon tax  for heating in rentals. the renter or the landlord. If its the renter and the house has an oil based heating system then they would just be out of luck and likely have to move into a tent in December.

For most renters, they are responsible for heating (especially in the case of a house rental). Thus, in the case of a carbon tax, they would be responsible for paying it.

But that situation, deplorable as it is, doesn't change with a carbon tax, outside of the rise in price of the fuel. Of course that rise in price could be devastating for people, but there are plenty out there now who can't afford to heat the place they live in.

The scheme I propose wouldn't make the heating oil any cheaper, but it would allow renters to sell off some of their emissions credits, allowing them a bit more money for heating fuel.

Right now, in BC, there are 25 communities that rely on diesel generation for electricity. Interestingly enough, when I searched to see if the BC government gives them a credit for the carbon tax, I didn't find that, but I found that greenhouse operators are eligible for an 80% relief from the carbon tax.

In any case, it seems obvious to me that a real effort has to be made to provide electricity for those communities. I didn't check completely on the communities, but I assume that most of them would be First Nations. A sad commentary on our province, and our country. 


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

Rev Pesky wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...I disagree with your approach becuase you are ignoring two essential facts --

1) that the wealthiest waste the most carbon and have the most choices and therefore have the greatest capacity as individuals to change

2) that economic measures -- either a carbon tax; a carbon quota selling system; or increased prices will create disproportioantely more hardship for poorer people than wealthy people while creating disproportionately less incentive depending on how much money you have.

Wealthy people don't 'waste carbon', they create carbon emissions. Their behaviours may be wasteful.

Please explain to me how giving the same amount of emissions credit to everyone is creating hardship for the poor. That doesn't make an iota of sense. With the system I propose, the poor would suddenly have something they never had before. That is, the equal right to create carbon emissions, which they do not have now. How is that making them more poor?

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...If you commercialize individual quotas then people who are poor will be disproportionately pressured to sell not only what they do not need but also what they do. The market will adjust as it does and eventually poorer people will be unable to keep them. Worse, wealthy people will easily be able to buy enough to waste and we will have done nothing but create pressure and hardship for the poorest.

Again, this is an argument that makes no sense. The poor don't have anything now. How would giving them more rights to emit result in them having less?

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...You cannot just give everyone the license to create polution and create change unless there is a shortage of that licensed product. That shortage will have to cost if it is a market and the price you put on it is problematic in the context of significant inequity since any amount reasonable for a poor person will be insignificant in terms of motivation for a wealthy person.

And that is why there needs to be a hard cap, and rationing. I'll point out that rationing has been done in the past in Canada to prevent price gouging. 

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...All of these three approaches amount to putting a price on carbon -- either as a tax, an increase of commercializing it so anyone can buy it. They all have the weakness that people who have the least will be the most vulnerable.

My point is that failing to address the roots of problems with equity is an obstacle to addressing climate change effectively.You have top address the inequity in whatever plan you devise.

I address it by giving each individual the same amount of emissions credit. How does a carbon tax do it?

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...Now if you use a cap and trade system combined with the tax system there might be a way to devise something to account for this. So if you purchased your credits from the government and the government supplied lower income people with some for free and a lower rate to buy more while selling them to higher income people for more then the government can find a price on carbon tied to econmic means so everyone can afford it but nobody can afford to waste it.

This is one example of accounting for inequity or addressing it -- at least in the context of climate change efforts.

The only difference between the above and my proposal is that all people would be given (for free) an equal amount of emissions credit. Those who wished to use more would have to buy it from those who either didn't need it or didn't want it. Price established by the highest bidder.

I will just say once more that my proposal assumes a hard cap on emissions. That is the 'shortage' of which you speak. If you don't think there will be a hard cap, then yes, my scheme will not work. But I'll point out that if there is no hard cap, nothing will work.

 

When I say wealthy people waste carbon -- that's short for carbon based fuels.

You say my argument makes no sense and then say poor people don't now have an equal right to create carbon emissions. Yeah they do. then you say the pooor don't have anything now. Yes they do. A lot less than other people but they do.

You say I make no sense but you propose a hard limit below current emisions and then commercializing emissions so the wealthy can buy them all. This is a lot like saying we help the poor by allowing them to sell their kidneys -- after all they couldn't before.

You miss the point when you say your proposal is the same as mine -- mine has a leveling feature so the relative costs of the limited resource are the same for wealthy and poor people encouraging both to conserve. Yours has either the cost to the wealthy too low to be significant or too high for the poor to afford.

Again you miss the point of the the issue of inequality when you have a market and a scarce resource. Really this is rather basic economics. If the prices they pay are geared to income then you can create a field where price encourages rich and poor to conserve -- otherwise you will create another field of exploitation.


quizzical
Offline
Joined: Dec 8 2011

Rev Pesky wrote:
And the fact is, fuel use in BC is rising, so the whole argument is nothing but wishful thinking on their part.

Lastly, and I see another article today in the business press on this,  because the carbon tax has not resulted in reduced consumption, the only answer is to raise the tax. And once again the poorest get the shaft, while the wealthy sail along in their Hummers.

you know this looks good on the surface. and ya could accept it as just "consumption is up".

why is it up?

answer tourism. american tourists. cross Canada tourists.

why increase the tax? it's tourists they're taxing.

will it impact others in BC too even though it's not their own consumption which is up?

yup. 


quizzical
Offline
Joined: Dec 8 2011

it's bs by the BC government saying BC consumption is up and the tax  isn't curtailing BCers consumption habits so we have to raise it.

their economic model is tourism driven around the province. it's working.

our town of 1000 has one of the busiest a&w's across Canada. 2 new gas stations are being built. each one holds another large franchise brand.

if their economic plan is working gas consumption in BC has to increase.

they need to stop blamming BC consumers.

if you took tourism stats and their gas sales out of the equation consumption would be well below where it is and where it should be as BCers are responsible consumers imv.


JKR
Offline
Joined: Jan 15 2005
Rev Pesky wrote:

There is indeed a simple solution to the problem of people opposing carbon taxes, or pricing. That is, a cap and ration system.

Every individual gets a ration, and then can either use it, or sell it (or parts of it).

So the wealthy would get the same ration as the poor, but the poor could sell a portion of their ration to the wealthy. I can tell you that this simple policy would be a real winner with the average citizen.

At the same time, one could cap the overall emissions, and gradually reduce them as time (and infrastructure) allowed. All of the necessary technology already exists to accomplish this, and as I say, no politician would have a hard time selling this to the voters.

What the voters fear is that existing carbon pricing will cost them money, which is absolutely true. Show them a system that can make them money, and they'll welcome it with open arms.

You could also have a simple carbon fee and dividend system that would simply return directly all the revenues gatherer by a carbon fee to the population on a per capita basis. That kind of system would be progressive as it would give each person the same amount of money no matter what their level of income is. It would also be an affordable system because it would require a relatively small level of bureaucracy.

https://citizensclimatelobby.org/carbon-fee-and-dividend/

http://canada.citizensclimatelobby.org/carbon-fee-and-dividend/

http://www.carbontax.org/dividends/

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fee_and_dividend


Doug Woodard
Online
Joined: Mar 30 2005

Rev Pesky wrote:

Sean in Ottawa wrote:
...All of these three approaches amount to putting a price on carbon -- either as a tax, an increase of commercializing it so anyone can buy it. They all have the weakness that people who have the least will be the most vulnerable.

My point is that failing to address the roots of problems with equity is an obstacle to addressing climate change effectively.You have top address the inequity in whatever plan you devise.

I address it by giving each individual the same amount of emissions credit. How does a carbon tax do it?

It is feasible to structure a carbon tax as a tax shift, compensating for the carbon tax by reducing, for example, income taxes. Progessivity can be accomplished by working with the basic exemption versus rates of tax. People who don't pay incomes taxes can be accomodated by providing a tax refund similar to the sales tax refund which is paid already, at least for Ontario residents. Amost everyone files an income tax return for the benefits even if they don't pay tax. No additional administrative structure (e.g. no cards) is required.

Sweden has used a carbon tax since 1991, and it works:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2008/apr/29/climatechange.carbon...

https://sweden.se/nature/sweden-tackles-climate-change/

http://www.iisd.org/sites/default/files/publications/canadian_carbon_pol...

  see "Canada's Emission Trends, 2013"

http://www.indexmundi.com/facts/indicators/EN.ATM.CO2E.KD.GD/compare?cou...

It's probably relevant that Sweden introduced proportional representation in 1907, effective for the election of 1911. It's not surprising that their public policy tends to be a little more rational than ours.


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