Politics, policy and climate change...and maybe the aftermath of the BC election

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KenS
Politics, policy and climate change...and maybe the aftermath of the BC election

From an interesting discussion in the latter part of the thread with the lovely name

http://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/triumph-conservative-ndp-axis-climate-change-dimwits

Kick this one off with the last paragraph from the last post.

I don't think the BC election is particularly relevant to the larger topic. But it did just happen, and it was the occassion for a number of threads on the topic. So whether or not I personally think it was particularly relevant, I included it in the thread title

Peter3 wrote:

Anyway, my original post was motivated by distaste for the "my issue is more important than your issue" tenor of what has been flying around here. My position is that climate change is a critically important issue, but not to the exclusion of other concerns, including other environmental issues.  I believe that some unscrupulous politicians with no legitimate interest in the environment have used climate change as a smokescreen behind which to conduct environmental policy, social policy and taxation policy reconfiguration to the detriment of society, the BC Carbon Tax being a prime example. I am baffled that this is even considered controversial among nominally progressive people. At any rate, nothing I have seen here to persuade me otherwise.

KenS

I'm in pretty close agreement with Peter3's position that leads up to that closing paragraph.

I also am not so sure that climate change dynamics are going to lead to as dire cosequences as many of the predictions. And agreed that even if dire consequences are "only" a very likely possibility, that there is no doubt that prudence is sufficient reason for taking action.

But I think there is a larger reason to not quibble with analysis of how dire is our need and priority to address climate change.

Peter3 is concerned with the backlash if it turns out today's climate change predictions were alarmist. Practically speaking, I think this is a non-starter. By the time we would know that either we will have done little or nothing to address climate change, with the poor predictions being ancient history, and the very fact we will have done nothing means we are still on a course for hitting a variety of soical and environmental calamities even if climate change is neither paramount among them or even contributing much to breakdown.

Or conversely, if we have done something significat to address climate change, then that will be the signpost of some degree of consensus that laissez faire about growing social and environmantal deficits just is not acceptable. In that case, if climate change as a specific problem turns out to have been overbilled, we'll just roll with it and continue addressing the multiplicity of social and environmetntal crises.

Darwin OConnor

Peter3 wrote:
I believe that some unscrupulous politicians with no legitimate interest in the environment have used climate change as a smokescreen behind which to conduct environmental policy, social policy and taxation policy reconfiguration to the detriment of society, the BC Carbon Tax being a prime example.

Climate change can also be used as a smokescreen behind which to conduct policy reconfiguration to the benefit of society.

Burning fossil fuels cause many other environment problems, so reducing their use is good environmental policy.

Encouraging transit will create neighborhoods with more social interaction and improve society.

The revenue from a high carbon tax can be redistributed to people with low income significantly improving income distribution.

KenS

Peter3 wrote:

I believe that some unscrupulous politicians with no legitimate interest in the environment have used climate change as a smokescreen behind which to conduct environmental policy, social policy and taxation policy reconfiguration to the detriment of society, the BC Carbon Tax being a prime example. I am baffled that this is even considered controversial among nominally progressive people. At any rate, nothing I have seen here to persuade me otherwise.

This makes sense. Think about it: BC has ongoing huge and explosive issues over resource use and allocation. There is a consistency to the unwavering corporate neo-lib push in this. There's also a consistency in the environmentalist push back, the traction that has through a wide sector of the electorate, and the continual problems this poses for the neo-lib politicians of the day who want to 'push the envelope' of resource extraction,  and get re-elected.

In BC, compared to what is at stake in the continual resource extraction controversies, doing some elementary climate change action is a pretty low cost cover.

That said, there's not a lot of mileage beyond necessary discussions among progressives, in pointing that out. In fact, trying to make a public issue of it is more likely than not to derail and backfire. Thats the way complex negative critiques [dont] work in the hurly burly of the pub;ic square. And it would be like that even if the media was not hostile.

So here we are the day after- in terms of getting things done, does it even matter now that it was a set-up.

The carbon tax is here. At this point in time we don't yet have the regressive tax restructuring that goes with it- fight that when it comes. And off the top of my head I can't see anything has change about fighting the government and the neo-lib agaenda on all the other environmental fronts. [The BCNDP has to be more than 'fightera'- needs to develop a coherent vision. And while overlapping, thats a different issue, and at bottom one that only people already in the party can do anything about.]

Because I'm not in BC I'm sure I could easily have missed some general / 'larger' lessons in there.

But getting back to the general and somewhat longer range questions for action across Canada that were posed above, I don't see that the BC election has a lot of 'lesson' / instruction to it.

KenS

Darwin OConnor wrote:
The revenue from a high carbon tax can be redistributed to people with low income significantly improving income distribution.

You are failing to learn one lesson we should be getting by now.

Some of carbon pricing revenue, in general can indeed be redistributed to low income housholds.

But carbon tax programs specifically, only come with redistribution of all the revenues to all income groups [even corporations in the case of Dion's plan]. The tax cuts that is built on consitute yet another aggressive assault on the political-fiscal feasability of future governments to do the vital incresaes in social and green spending initiatives we require.

It is foolish and dangerous idealism to talk about carbon taxes in the abstract: what it could be used for, without addressing how overall carbon tax policies are packaged [and have good reason to continue will be].

Darwin OConnor

KenS wrote:

It is foolish and dangerous idealism to talk about carbon taxes in the abstract: what it could be used for, without addressing how overall carbon tax policies are packaged [and have good reason to continue will be].

Are you saying just because the carbon taxes purposed by the Federal and BC Liberals where flawed we shouldn't talk about carbon taxes in general or how we could make a better one?

At least the Liberals have proposals detailed enough that we can see the flaws. The NDP's cap and trade proposals are so vague they appear perfect. The main problem with cap and trade is that the details are more complex and more likely to have flaws then a carbon tax.

Policywonk

Peter3 wrote:

My position is that climate change is a critically important issue, but not to the exclusion of other concerns, including other environmental issues. 

Climate change cannot be separated from other concerns, given the that it is related to or will exacerbate virtually all other environmental and social concerns. For example burning coal is responsible for a large percentage of carbon dioxide emissions, but also causes other air pollution, including airborne mercury. Air pollution leads to major health problems and thousands of deaths per year in Canada alone and a couple of million deaths worldwide. Its hard to say how much is from what source of air pollution (and a large proportion is from indoor air pollution), but reducing ground level ozone alone would save thousands of lives in North America http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=40648 and save billions of dollars in crop damage. Given that ground level ozone concentration increases are associated with temperature increases (and ozone is itself a greenhouse gas), and this is only one potential source of increased mortality, it is ridiculous to say that climate change won't kill a large number of people, directly through weather and weather related air pollution and indirectly through disease and crop failure. And to say that climate change hasn't killed millions of people in history is also incorrect, given the climate impacts of volcanic eruptions http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volcanic_winter.

According to the WHO climate change was responsible for about 150,000 deaths in 2000 alone, taking into account only a subset of the possible health impacts. During the 1990s over 600,000 people died as a result of weather related natural disasters, and climate change is likely to bring more of them. 

KenS wrote:

Or conversely, if we have done something significat to address climate change, then that will be the signpost of some degree of consensus that laissez faire about growing social and environmantal deficits just is not acceptable. In that case, if climate change as a specific problem turns out to have been overbilled, we'll just roll with it and continue addressing the multiplicity of social and environmetntal crises.

I agree with the first sentence but not the second. Climate change is not a specific problem and is related to or will exacerbate the multiplicity of social and environmental crises.

KenS

Darwin OConnor wrote:
 Are you saying just because the carbon taxes purposed by the Federal and BC Liberals where flawed we shouldn't talk about carbon taxes in general or how we could make a better one?

We're talking. I talked about it. You talked.

I'm objecting to idealistic formulations that carbon tax is better [for x and y reasons], without integraly addressing the fact that caron tax plans here always come with the Trojan Horse of tax cuts.

Then people say "but it doesn't have to be that way" without addressing what has been pointed out numerous times: the reason they are that way is because the comnination, not carbon taxes in the abstract has that pernicious appeal to politicians that put them forward.

And, the flip side, that a big reason the federal NDP evaluated the choices and, before any of these other plans came out, decided against the carbon tax is because gaining acceptance of a carbon tax was just too much of an obstacle to add to something that clearly was already going to be very difficult politically.

I don't expect everyone to agree with that. But no one has bothered to argue the point. It just gets implicitly waved off as people yobble on about the supposed merits of the carbon tax, in the abstract.

Darwin OConnor wrote:
 At least the Liberals have proposals detailed enough that we can see the flaws. The NDP's cap and trade proposals are so vague they appear perfect. The main problem with cap and trade is that the details are more complex and more likely to have flaws then a carbon tax.

The appeal of the Liberals proposals is their apparent simplicity [and with "revenue neutrality" political costlessness, to neo-liberals]. The execution and implications is anything but simple, and I question how visible the flaws are [see the point immediately above].

I don't agree with you that cap and trade is more complex. And I think it the superior alternative for more than 'just' the political toxicity of the carbon tax- at least as a starting point, and in North America [where we do live].

But thats beside the point really. The bottom line is that people don't really understand the carbon tax either- and they can just as much understand what they need to know about cap and trade to make an informed choice.

By the same token- as I said before, even if I think cap and trade works better, if politicaly a carbon tax program can be hooked up to a strong commitment to green spending [not, "Oh, we'll get that later]... then sign me up.

Policywonk

Cap and trade is also a superior alternative because the Americans are heading in that direction (carbon taxes are even more of an anathema there). I like this analysis, however the commitment has to go beyond green spending to building a socially and environmentally sustainable economy as quickly as possible.

KenS

Policywonk wrote:

I agree with the first sentence but not the second. Climate change is not a specific problem and is related to or will exacerbate the multiplicity of social and environmental crises.

Every word of that post is a repitition, and only a repetition, of what was said in the last thread.

If you read what I said, and I think this is also true for Peter3 even if a bit less so, I [we] may disagree with you and others about the exact role that climate change can be expected to play, but the choice of action is the same regardless.

Let alone that any concrete successes we can register in climate change action is at the same time another step towards the social-political capability of healing what we have done to ourselves and to our planet.

[Cross-posted with the previous post. but I'll just leave it as is anyway.]

Policywonk

KenS wrote:

Policywonk wrote:

I agree with the first sentence but not the second. Climate change is not a specific problem and is related to or will exacerbate the multiplicity of social and environmental crises.

Every word of that post is a repitition, and only a repetition, of what was said in the last thread.

If you read what I said, and I think this is also true for Peter3 even if a bit less so, I [we] may disagree with you and others about the exact role that climate change can be expected to play, but the choice of action is the same regardless.

Let alone that any concrete successes we can register in climate change action is at the same time another step towards the social-political capability of healing what we have done to ourselves and to our planet.

[Cross-posted with the previous post. but I'll just leave it as is anyway.]

All of the post is repetition?! The exact role climate change can be expected to play? There is a range of possibilities for the extent and impact of climate change, but we might disagree profoundly over probabilities of extent and impact within that range. Anyway it bears repeating that actions to address climate change will address a multitude of concerns, and that is something that I think we can agree on.

Chester Drawers

We are a society where we may support a policy, but once the financial impact is outlined on how it will hit our wallet it becomes the hot potato and dropped just as fast.  Not one person I believe is willing to sacrifice their current standard of living they enjoy for a policy that reduces this standard.  Not one person will endorse a policy where their grocery bill increases by a significant amount over night.  Not one person is going to endorse a policy where their instant gratification becomes too great a burden on their finances.  The only whay to change peoples behavior is to price it out of their income range and not one person is going to vote for that policy.  Not one person in rural communities is going to vote in a policy where it becomes to expensive to drive and then have to commute to the city on a bus schedule that does not meet their needs.  Not one person is going to vote in a policy where they will see the value of their home decreases so much because the heating/electrical bill is too great and in order to be green have to move into the city local from the burbs so they can have a shorter commute to work.

I have not heard one so called expert place a price on what it will cost to implement a carbon tax or cap and trade on an individual or family.  Bring forth this info into the public realm and see how the public reacts.  Policy change, behaviour change and technology change will require a generation to achieve the results wanted.

Darwin OConnor

Chester Drawers wrote:

I have not heard one so called expert place a price on what it will cost to implement a carbon tax or cap and trade on an individual or family.  Bring forth this info into the public realm and see how the public reacts.  Policy change, behaviour change and technology change will require a generation to achieve the results wanted.

If you're right, then we're screwed. We very likely don't have time to wait a generation to change. It may already be too late.

We don't have time to wait for a socialist revolution. Sometime you have to treat the symptom before the disease, or you'll loose the patient.

Benjamin

The recent rapid increase in the price of fuel (prior to its more recent downslide) did change people's behaviours.  I for one sold my vehicle, and have transitioned to being carless.  All the data I saw suggested that people's consumption preferences changed quite quickly.  Did they make these changes willingly?  Perhaps not.  But rapid change can occur within a generation, e.g. the take off of recycling within a short period of time.  Since our politicians will not champion a reduction in consumption, we will have to do it on our own.

Chester Drawers

Just try this to see if I'm correct.  At your next social function, non political,  ask 10 people how they would react if every thing they did or bought increased by 5% over night, then ask at 10% then 15%.  You have to find out what their instant gratification is and then you have to ask them at what price does it make it unafordable.  Example might be the weekly night out on the town, commute, dinner and a show,  because these all will be impacted by a CT or C&T.  At 5% it might be afordable still, but at 15% they will stop and thus no ghg emmission.  No gas burned, no electricty/N gas for supper and restaraunt heating and no electricity and N gas for the theatre.  Even if the providers of the services were as effecient and green as possible,  there would have been a significant cost to do so and the consumer still pays it.  Example in my province you can buy wind power on your electrical bill, it is about 10% more expensive than the coal power, less than 2% of the consumers pay the extra dollars.  Now if they charged more for coal than wind, the utility would lose money since close to 50% of the power comes from coal and there is not enough wind to meet the power need.  In fact we would need 5400 wind mills ($5.4 billion to build) running at 60% capacity to meet the power need above hydro production.  Wind capacity is typically around 35% so do the math, that requires 9300 mills ($9.3 billion). 

The public needs the facts on how to change and what the costs will be.  No one does that.  All they do is spout reduce ghgs, but never the cost to the consumer. 

Stephen Gordon

KenS wrote:

 

You are failing to learn one lesson we should be getting by now.

Some of carbon pricing revenue, in general can indeed be redistributed to low income housholds.

But carbon tax programs specifically, only come with redistribution of all the revenues to all income groups [even corporations in the case of Dion's plan]. The tax cuts that is built on consitute yet another aggressive assault on the political-fiscal feasability of future governments to do the vital incresaes in social and green spending initiatives we require.

It is foolish and dangerous idealism to talk about carbon taxes in the abstract: what it could be used for, without addressing how overall carbon tax policies are packaged [and have good reason to continue will be].

Where does the "only come with" part come from? It's not a part of the carbon tax model. Once the revenues are generated, the govt can do what it wants with them. Your complaint is with what the revenues have been used for, not how they were generated.

Fidel

What about  CPP contributions that were held in general revenues for years not collecting any interest? UI-EI-O?

Wasnt GST revenue supposed to go toward infrastructure and health care instead of where it was frittered away, handed off to the banks soaking Canadian taxpayers with debt service payments?  

Peter3

A couple of points:

The potential for backlash is not tied to eventual outcomes at some distant point down the road.  There will be plenty of opportunities for I-told-you-so moments as understanding is refined and the normal business of scientific refutation of hypotheses takes its course. Speaking of these models as if they are imbued with a degree of certainty that they do not have claim to will inevitably be cause for regret, and sooner rather than later. It is ill-advised and unnecessary.

The observation that all environmental issues are connected to the climate change problem is neither profound nor interesting. Of course it is true. Ecosystems are complex integrated systems of interdependent physical, chemical and biological components.  This is not news, nor is it justification for the hyper-ventilated rhetoric being thrown around by disciples of the egomaniac enviro-guru David Suzuki and his ilk in which anybody involved in environmental issues who doesn't accept their forumlations of the problem and their prescriptions to the last decimal place is an apostate to be denigrated and cast out.

As KenS has noted, the idealized notions of public policy employed by Ms. Berman and Mr. Suzuki have nothing to do with reality. Reality is the place where the Campbell Liberals, helped to victory so ably by Ms. Berman and Mr. Suzuki, demolish social programs, despoil rivers, abet industrial degradation of nature and subvert regulations that protect human health and ecosystem integrity. The idea that these facts are somehow mitigated by the reality that the Liberals have regressively restructured taxation and called their consumption tax a carbon tax is quite ridiculous. The people of BC have just re-elected an anti-environment government with the help of very powerful elements of the environmental movement who ask us to believe that as long as gasoline and heating oil are taxed, the rest will sort itself out because, after all, everything is connected to climate change.

For the record, my views on this are similar to Jack Layton's; carbon pricing is part of the greenhouse gas reduction puzzle, tax instruments of one sort or another will ultimately have their place and cap-and trade is the proper place to start any market driven solutions. The BC Carbon Tax, is not, never has been, and cannot be under the current government, anything more than a Greenwashed implementation of right-wing tax policy; it could not have been implemented without the assistance of Suzuki et al. Congratulations folks, your tax is safe. Proud?

Stephen Gordon

Yes, I rather think they are. Because it simply makes no sense to think that reducing the price of gasoline will help reduce GHG emissions.

Fidel

Or unless it's a federal Liberal Party promising to reverse their own record in power over twelve years for increasing CO2 emissions after selling Canada's environment to Exxon-Imperial and marauding multinational fossil fuel companies. Because that wouldnt make sense either.

Peter3

Stephen Gordon wrote:

Yes, I rather think they are. Because it simply makes no sense to think that reducing the price of gasoline will help reduce GHG emissions.

Do you actually believe this has anything to do with anything anyone is saying?

Doug

I am glad that a carbon tax proved not to be guaranteed political death in BC, because that would have put a damper on climate-change policies of whatever sort elsewhere in the country.

Stephen Gordon

Peter3 wrote:

Stephen Gordon wrote:

Yes, I rather think they are. Because it simply makes no sense to think that reducing the price of gasoline will help reduce GHG emissions.

Do you actually believe this has anything to do with anything anyone is saying?

Look at the first point in the BC NDP platform.

Peter3

Doug wrote:

I am glad that a carbon tax proved not to be guaranteed political death in BC, because that would have put a damper on climate-change policies of whatever sort elsewhere in the country.

And what's a few crappy old rivers nobody gives a damn about stacked up against that, after all?

Stephen Gordon

So ... the only way to save BC's rivers was to vote against the carbon tax?

Because...

Okay, I give up. Because why?

Peter3

Stephen Gordon wrote:

Look at the first point in the BC NDP platform.

Spare us your smug affectation of authority, Stephen.  I suggest you read it and compare it to your own absurd caricature of its content. Who knows? You may get some insight into why you get so much contempt directed your way, although that is probably hoping for too much.

Peter3

Stephen Gordon wrote:

Okay, I give up. 

If only...

Stephen Gordon

Peter3 wrote:

Stephen Gordon wrote:

Look at the first point in the BC NDP platform.

Spare us your smug affectation of authority, Stephen.  I suggest you read it and compare it to your own absurd caricature of its content. Who knows? You may get some insight into why you get so much contempt directed your way, although that is probably hoping for too much.

Right back atcha, big guy.

Now could you explain why repealing the carbon tax was a necessary step to saving BC's rivers?

Fidel

Stephen Gordon wrote:
the carbon tax was a necessary step to saving BC's rivers?

Stepping up the hand-off of BC's rivers and estuaries and transprovincial oil pipeline permits to corporate raiders while pretending it's their job to tax gasoline and home heating fuel at the provincial level are independent regressive policies for the Campbell Liberals. They can do both at the same time.

Stephen Gordon

Well, that's sort of the point, isn't it? These are two separate issues. I would have thought that you can favour protecting BC's rivers and a carbon tax.

But apparently I'm mistaken. I'd like to know why, though.

 

Peter3

Stephen Gordon wrote:

Right back atcha, big guy.

Now could you explain why repealing the carbon tax was a necessary step to saving BC's rivers?

I'm not that big.

And I have no idea what you are babbling about - which makes two of us, I guess.

 

Stephen Gordon

I've asked the same question twice, Peter3. Could you answer it? Because it seems to be the heart of whatever point you're trying to make.

Peter3

Stephen Gordon wrote:

I've asked the same question twice, Peter3. Could you answer it? Because it seems to be the heart of whatever point you're trying to make.

You asked a question that is about nothing that I have said. You missed the point, Stephen.  But you know that. That's your game.

jrootham

Political packaging.  The NDP was against the tax and for the rivers.  The Liberals were for the tax and against the rivers.

Those were the choices.  The choice has been made.

 

Peter3

jrootham wrote:

Political packaging.  The NDP was against the tax and for the rivers.  The Liberals were for the tax and against the rivers.

Those were the choices.  The choice has been made.

 

What he said.

Stephen Gordon

Okay. So you're not against the carbon tax per se, it's just that you have different priorities than Suzuki and company. Fair enough.

But that doesn't really affect the debate on how to deal with climate change, does it?

eta: Whoops! I just realised tha jrootham answered, so I'm not sure to whom the "you" should be addressed. It does seem to be in line with Peter3's views, though.

Stephen Gordon

Okay then. Can we get back to climate change policy now?

Brian White

If the americans are so superior, how come their carbon emissions are so much higher than everyone elses?

Policywonk wrote:

Cap and trade is also a superior alternative because the Americans are heading in that direction (carbon taxes are even more of an anathema there). I like this analysis, however the commitment has to go beyond green spending to building a socially and environmentally sustainable economy as quickly as possible.

Stephen Gordon

There's nothing wrong with cap-and-trade, if it's done intelligently. The problem is that so far, we've not seen an intelligent cap-and-trade proposal in Canada. Such a proposal will have to deal with the following points:

  1. How will the initial permits be distributed? Ideally, they should all be auctioned off, so the govts will receive revenues corresponding to those generated by a carbon tax. If they are given out to existing emitters, then the plan should explain why giving emitters a free monopoly is a good idea.
  2. How will the prices facing consumers be affected? So far, it has pleased Canadian proponents of cap-and-trade to pretend that the answer to this question is they they won't be. They should stop this pretense.
  3. How will low-income households be protected? Concrete measures - based on realistic estimates of those costs - should be a part of the package.

 

Brian White

Stephen Gordon wrote:

Now could you explain why repealing the carbon tax was a necessary step to saving BC's rivers?

Actually,  I do not know what a progressive tax is and what a regressive tax is either.  Some of the proceded of the carbon tax was to be given to low income people to help them out.  Couldn't you just up that amount?

Or devote a percentage of the carbon tax to river saving? People also say Campbell just gives the tax money back but thats the whole point of the tax system, isn't it?   Not all the people get the same amount back as they put in, do they?  Tax on sigarettes, I do not pay a cent! but perhaps some comes back to me?  Thanks Gordo!   And revinue from gambling at the lotto?  I do not do the lotto so perhaps gamblers are helping to support me?

Anyway, can someone let me know in laymans terms what is so terrible about the carbon tax?  (From the NDP left wing bible if you like) but translate from russian to english for me.

Stockholm

I think that in this whole debate about the carbon tax, we have lost of sight of the real issue CLIMATE CHANGE. Its gotten to the point where some of the eco-capitalist types have such a religious fervour about the carbon tax - that it doesn't even matter anymore whether the carbon tax actually reduces GHG emission one single solitary iota - as long as they get the satisfaction of know that everyone is paying their little 2 cent a litre "indulgence".

A rigorous cap and trade policy IMPOSES caps on GHG emissions. It sets out strict regulations on industry saying - cut your emissions or face heavy consequences. Once implemented it is 100% guaranteed to have an impact. With a carbon tax, its all about "wishing upon a star" its all based on a hypotehtical dream that if we just slap a couple of cents on everyone's home heating and gas bills - that someday, maybe, perhaps, they just might make drastic lifestyle changes that would lead to significant GHG emissions. Its all based on a dream that it will have an impact - but there is a good chance that it will have none. Its true that last summer when gas prices were off the charts, some people started to muse about a driving a bit less - but the extent to which gas prices rose last summer was about 50 TIMES as much as the impact of the BC carbon tax.

So, my view is that there are only two rationale for a carbon tax at all. One is if 100% of the revenue from it was to be used for mass transit and cother GHG emission reduction strategies. The other is if you make the carbon tax really, really, really big - like about 100 TIMES as high as anything proposed by the BC or federal Liberals - big enough to really cause PAIN for people. But to make the carbon tax big enough to actually change behaviour it would have to be so big as to be politically suicidal.

What Campbell proposed, is just a pathetic greenwash for a rightwing tax shift away from progressive income taxnd to regressive consumption tax. The Fraser Institue is THRILLED about it.

Stephen Gordon

That's all very well. Now if you can come up with answers to the three points I brought up here, then we'd be done.

Stockholm

If industry freduces there emissions, there will be no fines to pay and no reason to pass any costs on to consumers. IF people do end up indirectly paying a bit more for cap'n trade - at least they are paying for a policy that ACTUALLY cuts emissions as opposed to paying for income tax cuts by stealth - which is all that the carbon tax accomplishes.

Stephen Gordon

How will industries reduce emissions?

And those three points remain unanswered.

Stockholm

how do they reduce emission as a result of a carbon tax - if it were to work as its supposed to - which it won't?

Peter3

Stephen Gordon wrote:

Okay then. Can we get back to climate change policy now?

The title of the thread is "Politics, policy and climate change...and maybe the aftermath of the BC election", not "Climate change policy".

Stephen Gordon

Price goes up; demand goes down.

Now it's your turn.

Peter3

Brian White wrote:

Actually,  I do not know what a progressive tax is and what a regressive tax is either...  ...Anyway, can someone let me know in laymans terms what is so terrible about the carbon tax?  (From the NDP left wing bible if you like) but translate from russian to english for me.

Sigh...

Stockholm

"Price goes up; demand goes down."

YOu seriously think that a couple of cents of tax is going to have any significant impact on anyone's behaviour??? If Canada is to meet its Kyoto commitments etc... we are supposed to cut GHFG emissions by about a thbird - that is HUGE. A few poor people on fixed incomes cutting short the odd Sunday drive because gas is now 2 cents a litre more expensive ain't gonna do the trick.

About the only thing a carbon tax accomplishes is assuaging peoples consciences by letting them "pay to pollute" and then they sleep well know that they paid their trivial little indulgence.

Stephen Gordon

Stockholm, that's not an answer. You have a policy proposal. Defending it does not consist of attacking other proposals. Especially when that attack consists of uninformed PartySpeak.

You now have four questions to answer. Go to it.

Stockholm

Why don't you answer a question. How does a couple of extra cents on the price of gas - not one red cent of which will go to mass transit or retro-fitting etc... - lead to Canadians making MASSIVE, REVOLUTIONARY lifestyles changes that causes GHG emission to drop by one third or more?????

The way to reduce GHGs is by regulation and legislation. For example, why not set rigid emission standards on all cars and SUVs and simply say that no car that doesn't meet those standards is allowed to be sold in Canada? Or why not shut down the oil sands? If you want GHG emissons to come down drastically - it will mean drastic policies like that - not getting a few old ladies to walk to church every Sunday instead of driving four blocks because they can't afford to fill up the gas tank.

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