Archived Letter – 816

Dear Editor:
The provincial government recently released “Ontario’s Climate Change Discussion Paper” and is now asking for our input and feedback on plans to transition to a clean energy economy.
I applaud the government for recognizing the urgency of the situation. Without a comprehensive plan to reduce greenhouse gases and move to renewable energy, we- and especially our children and grandchildren- will be facing severe and perhaps irreversible climate impacts.
Discussions should now focus on how to achieve this necessary “green” shift without financially burdening Ontario households. At this point, the Ontario government appears to be leaning towards a cap and trade system similar to the province of Quebec’s.Cap and trade sets limits on the amount of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels that companies are allowed to emit.The company decides how to meet the ‘cap’ by choosing to invest in energy efficiency to reduce its carbon emissions, or it can swap or ‘trade’ for permits to emit greenhouse gases from other companies that are under the cap.However, these systems are vulnerable to manipulation, can result in costly oversight and have had limited success globally.
There is, however, a second and more transparent option called “Carbon Fee and Dividend”. With this approach, the government places a fee on fossil fuels at the source. All the money collected is returned to Ontario households in the form of a regular,equal dividend- a ‘green’ cheque or direct deposit to each Ontarian’s bank account.The predictable annual increase in the price of fossil fuels spurs clean technology development and investment,and the higher price of fossil fuels prompts carbon alternatives.
About 66 percent of all households will get back as much or more in the dividend than they will spend on higher fossil fuel prices, which especially protects low and middle income Ontarians- and it rewards all low fossil fuel consumers.
British Columbia already has a successful carbon fee that returns the revenue back to households- not as a cheque, but through a reduction in personal income taxes. A five year study of BC’s carbon fee found that BC’s per capita fossil fuel use has decreased while its GDP outpaced the rest of the country.A proven system without the burden of more government!
Because we are being given the opportunity to discuss how to move forward on carbon pricing, I think it is important that all Ontarians educate themselves about various carbon pricing policies.
We must tackle climate change NOW, but I believe that carbon fee and dividend is a simpler, more efficient, and more equitable way to price carbon pollution.
Sue Braiden
Citizens Climate Lobby Erin Chapter

Sue Braiden