Canadians believe that it’s high time we place a price on carbon.This is a decent start for Layton. He needs to explain the NDP position on the carbon tax, because people like me see it as necessary. I agree that home heating is problematic. A blanket carbon tax on home heating might be a step too far, at least in the short run. Also, I like his idea of retrofitting homes to make them more energy efficient.
While many, like me believe that the most effective way to price carbon is through a cap-and-trade system where the big profitable polluters begin to pay their fair share, others suggest a carbon tax.
Advocates of a carbon tax suggest that by making the costs for certain things more expensive, people will make different choices.
But Canada is a cold place.
Heating your home is not a choice.
Already, far too many seniors on fixed incomes, single-parents, renters, people who live in the far north – are forced to choose between putting food on the table or heating their home
I don’t want to make that decision even more difficult.
Instead of making it more expensive to heat your home while consuming the same amount of energy and emitting the same amount of pollution, I want to help make it more affordable to heat your home – by helping to make it more energy efficient and pollute less.
We can do it through a national energy weatherizing program. The costs can be absorbed by ensuring the big polluters start paying their fair share.
However, I have a problem with Layton's complete dismissal of a carbon tax. I think it is part of the mix. Yes, we need cap and trade. Yes we need to stop subsidizing the oil industry with billions of tax dollars and yes we need a carbon tax (at least on gasoline to start). It seems to me that none of these approaches should be mutually exclusive.
We should have a carbon tax on gasoline because consumers of gasoline are contributing to GHG production. We need to change consumption patterns and a carbon tax on gasoline should be considered as a way to accomplish this change. We should combine that with a cap and trade system where the big polluters pay for their pollution. Finally, the revenue from these programs should go into a fund to pay for improvements to public transit and initiatives like the national housing retrofit program. The idea of "revenue neutrality" is really a non-starter for me because as Layton says, that is really just moving expenses from one pocket to another (and if the government is not getting any more revenue then it can't fund things like mass transit and home retrofit programs).
I understand that the NDP does not want the Liberal Party to get any traction out of its carbon tax proposal, but there are plenty of legitimate problems with the Liberals' proposal to pick on, without dismissing the whole idea. A carbon tax is an idea whose time has come. Recommend this Post