Happy New Year!
It’s now official – 2014 was the hottest year on record for this blue planet of ours.
This is the year that science and good climate policy will trump denial and fossil fool intransigence. I’m lucky to live in the largest Canadian province, Ontario, where last summer the newly-re-elected Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne appointed this nation’s first ever Minister of the Environment and Climate Change. Glen Murray demonstrates a full grasp of the urgency and importance of the climate crisis, and the province is currently working with Quebec and California to create a sub-national climate response with real teeth. Together, those three jurisdictions make up the world’s 5th largest economy, so whatever moves they make will have a large ripple effect across the globe.
Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) volunteers across the globe are focused on creating the political will for a livable climate. We are laser-focused on lobbying politicians and educating the public about the economic and emission-reduction benefits of a revenue-neutral price on carbon pollution. This year, many of us CCLers in Ontario will be focused on creating the political and public will to put a price on carbon at the provincial level, and return the monies collected to Canadians. As part of that campaign, I’m working on a postcard campaign that will encourage Ontarians to send Mr Murray and Ms Wynne postcards asking for their climate bonus:
If you are in Ontario and want to participate in this campaign, email me at email@example.com.
An upcoming forum discussing the differences between a carbon tax and cap and trade is being held in Toronto on January 27th. Moderated by Stephen Lewis, the event is sponsored by For Our Grandchildren, Citizens’ Climate Lobby, and School of the Environment – University of Toronto.
Putting a Price on Carbon
93 Charles Street West,
Victoria College University of Toronto
Stephen Lewis, Distinguished Visiting Professor, Ryerson University
Nicholas Rivers, Chairholder, Canada Research Chair in Climate and Energy, University of Ottawa
David Robinson, Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University
Katie Sullivan, Director, North America and Climate Finance, IETA
Gray Taylor, a leading climate change lawyer working in Toronto
Kristyn Annis, President, Canadians for Clean Prosperity
Lynn McDonald, former Federal Member of Parliament and co-founder of JustEarth
Individual tickets (less than 5) $20 per ticket. Group tickets (5 or more) $10 per ticket.
Keep calm and price carbon.
Is it possible to solve the climate crisis without hurting the economy? That is the question that five members of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) Red Lake were in Ottawa recently to address. They joined Canadians from Vancouver Island to Quebec who traveled to our nation’s capitol last week to learn more about the economic benefits of a carbon dividend that places a price on carbon pollution and returns the money to Canadian households.
Attendees at CCL’s Carbon Fee Prosperity conference November 22 and 23 heard a blue-ribbon economic panel dispel the idea that a healthy environment and a prosperous economy can’t co-exist. Success for one doesn’t have to mean failure for the other, agreed the five members of the panel, which included Professor Christopher Ragan from McGill University. Ragan is a CD Howe Institute Research Fellow and Chair of the newly launched cross-party Eco-Fiscal Commission. Ragan underscored how our current tax system taxes (thereby discouraging) good things that Canadians want more of – income, employment, innovation and better jobs – and doesn’t tax bad things that we all want less of, such as pollution.
“I’ve never met a Canadian who likes pollution and wants more of it, yet we make it free. We have a tax system that by not taxing pollution effectively encourages it,” Ragan told the attentive audience, “We can do better in this country.”
Based on the experience of the B.C. carbon tax, panelist Dr. Stewart Elgie from the University of Ottawa explained that a $30 fee per tonne of carbon (the same as B.C.’s) would generate $20 billion annually. That would mean, assuming there are about 20 million adults in our country, that every Canadian over the age of 18 would get a $1,000 carbon bonus cheque annually in the mail if the federal government adopted a revenue-neutral carbon dividend policy.
After learning more about the benefits of carbon fee and dividend at the weekend conference, 65 CCL volunteers from all walks of life spent Monday and Tuesday on Parliament Hill. They met with MPs and Senators from every political party to encourage them to put a price on carbon pollution and return the money to Canadian households.
Dr. Mark Polle, who met with 12 MPs and Senators while he was in Ottawa, found that the politicians he encountered were pleased to hear from climate-concerned Canadians.
“With a few exceptions, the politicians I spoke with understood the seriousness of climate change and welcomed a conversation about solutions,” Polle said.
Cathy Orlando, CCL Canada’s National Manager, underscored the nonpartisan nature of the organization, stating “Canadians deserve carbon fee prosperity. Carbon fee and dividend is the best carbon-pricing model for Canadians. It has something for everyone. It is a market solution that will not grow government size and not burden the poor or middleclass.”
While not all Canadians understand the urgency of the climate crisis, all Canadians agree on the value of economic growth that doesn’t sacrifice our clean water, clean air, or our stable climate. What the five CCLers from northwestern Ontario discovered in Ottawa last week is that pricing pollution is the right solution for both Canada’s economic prosperity in the 21st century and the threat of climate change.
Check out Citizens’ Climate Lobby Canada’s YouTube channel for video from the Ottawa conference, including Dr Katherine Hayhoe
Climate-concerned Canadians from across the country are gathered in Ottawa today for the first day of the second annual Citizens’ Climate Lobby national conference and lobbying days. If you are in or around Ottawa and want to learn more about a dynamic, grassroots organization that is working to create the political will for a livable climate, come down to Ottawa City Hall today to meet us.
Or if you wait until tomorrow, you can drop in on our Sunday-only component for $10. It would be great to see you there!
We at CCL Canada have been working hard to set up a live webcasting of the Sunday lineup at our second annual conference and lobbying days in Ottawa this weekend, November 22 and 23rd.
Keynote speakers at include Michael MacMillan, of Samara Canada and co-author of Tragedy in the Commons, and venture capitalist Tom Rand, author and Managing Partner of ArcTern Ventures. Canadian Climate Scientist Dr. Katharine Hayhoe, named by TIME magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, will join via videoconference from Texas.
Sunday afternoon’s economic panel will feature a wide-ranging discussion on pricing carbon. The five panelists are Celine Bak (Analytica Advisors), Stewart Elgie (University of Ottawa), Tom Rand (Arctern Ventures), David Robinson (Laurentian University) and Christopher Ragan (McGill University). Dr. Ragan is the chair of the newly formed Ecofiscal Commission, of which Dr. Elgie is also a member.
To view the conference live via webstream on Sunday November 23, link to these sites:
YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/embed/IjFM9ikj5Rk
Facebook event page for updates:
To join via Google+, add yourself to the CCL Canada Google Circle: https://www.google.com/+CitizensClimateLobbyCan and then go to the Google + Event:
Or click on this link starting Sunday November 22 at 9:30 a.m. EST to watch it live:
It’s TED Talk Tuesday on 350orbust. From TEDx Orange Coast, venture capitalist and scientist Dan Miller shares his passion for working for action on the climate crisis, why we haven’t yet acted, and the simple and elegant solution that would turn the crisis around.
“While focusing on a simple solution to help fix climate change, he alerts us on our responsibilities as engaged citizens to be involved and take urgent actions towards the environment, our planet, and our society.”
Citizens’ Climate Lobby held its 5th Annual Conference in Washington DC June 22 – 24th. It was my second international CCL conference; at last year’s meeting there were 365 CCLers from across the United States, with a few Canadians thrown in for good measure. This year the number of climate-concerned citizens nearly doubled, with 600 people attending the conference and lobbying days. visited About 500 congressional offices were visited throughout the week following the conference by CCLers pressing for senators and congressmen and women to enact a carbon tax.
“Global warming is a problem that will change the American way of life and I don’t have the right to both acknowledge that and ignore it,” says CCL volunteer Brian Reynolds of Lincroft, New Jersey. “I came to Washington because voting and rallies aren’t enough. If you really understand this threat then you have a moral obligation to participate in that last, most important, bit of citizenship. This much and no less is required from those of us who care enough to want our way of life to continue.”
If you live in the United States, and you are concerned about climate change, circle Monday June 23rd on your calendar. From the comfort of your own home, you can support action on climate change and the over 600 climate-concerned citizens who will be on Capitol Hill that day meeting with every congressional office to discuss putting a price on carbon pollution.
This exchange took place in the Canadian House of Commons yesterday:
Mr. Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay—Superior North, GP):
Mr. Speaker, two of Canada’s greatest challenges are rising CO2 and growing poverty. The Conservative government has not addressed either one.
Proposed by the Citizens Climate Lobby, carbon fee and dividend would address both by setting a fee on carbon to curb our petrol addictions and putting that money straight back into the pockets of each and every Canadian.
Will the Minister of Finance please consider carbon fee and dividend?
Mr. Colin Carrie (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of the Environment, CPC):
Mr. Speaker, I am happy to say that our approach is working. Thanks to our actions, carbon emissions will go down close to 130 megatonnes from what they would have been under the Liberals.
What does the other parties want? They want a $20-billion carbon tax. Let us look at what this would do to hard-working Canadian families. This would be a tax on electricity, transportation, heating for their homes, clothes, groceries, and the list goes on. Canadians do not want more taxes. They do not want a $20-billion carbon tax.
We are going to continue with our approach.
The Canadian federal government seems intent on maintaining the status quo, and claiming to take action on climate change with sector-by-sector regulation which doesn’t even apply to the oil and gas industry.
As a Canadian and a mother concerned about climate change, I don’t find your regurgitated talking points reassuring, Mr. Carrie. Canada can do better.
Here’s what President Obama said in an interview with Thomas Friedman on Showtime’s Years Of Living Dangerously segment that aired yesterday:
The way we’ve solved previous pollution problems like acid rain was we said, “we’re gonna charge you if you’re releasing this stuff into the atmosphere. We’re gonna let you figure it out, but we’re gonna to tell you that you can’t keep dumping it out in the atmosphere and making everybody else pay for it.” So if there is one thing I would like to see, it’d be for us to be able to price the cost of carbon emissions.
Here’s a clip of part of the interview:
Mr Carrie and his leader might want to pay attention to what the President of the United States of America says about climate change. Stephen Harper and his government have always linked Canada’s policy to that of the U.S. – at least as long as the U.S. wasn’t taking a leadership role. It seems the U.S. is changing its tune but Mr. Harper’s still singing from the old songbook.
As recent reports on the impact of climate change underscore the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a new study finds that a tax on carbon can reduce those emissions while also adding jobs to the economy.
The study, conducted by Regional Economic Models, Inc., examined a tax on the carbon-dioxide content of fossil fuels. The tax would start at $10 per ton, increasing at $10 per ton each year. Revenue from the tax would be returned to households in equal shares as direct payments. Under this approach, the REMI study found that recycling the revenue back into the economy would add 2.1 million jobs over ten years. Improvements in air quality would save 13,000 lives a year. Emissions would decline by 33 percent.
“Detractors have said that a carbon tax will kill jobs,” said Mark Reynolds, executive director of Citizens Climate Lobby, which commissioned the study. “The REMI study turns that assumption on its head.”
Last month, the National Climate Assessment reported that the impact of climate change is already being felt across the nation in the form of severe drought, rising sea levels, extreme weather, wildfires and heat waves. To reduce future risk from climate change, the Obama administration last week unveiled new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency limiting carbon emissions from power plants.
“If Republicans don’t want more EPA regulations, their best recourse is to deliver a revenue-neutral carbon tax, which is supported by conservatives from George Shultz to Greg Mankiw,” said Reynolds. “With the REMI study showing a carbon tax that returns revenue to households will add millions of jobs, this is the option everyone can embrace.”
NAFTA provisions keep the American and Canadian energy economies closely intertwined. The National Manager of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby in Canada remarked, “It just takes one country to take the lead on carbon pricing and we can turn the page.”
MP Bruce Hyer (Thunder Bay – Superior North) is championing a revenue neutral carbon tax that refunds households, called carbon fee and dividend. On May 26, in the House of Commons, MP Hyer said this, “Carbon fee and dividend almost does it all. It prices carbon fairly and scientifically, uses only free market forces to foster CO2 reductions, costs virtually nothing to administer, benefits lower income Canadians and, what should appeal to that side, no money goes to the government at all.”
Since 1980, Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI) has provided economic impact studies for governmental and private-sector clients including the Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), consulting firms Booz Allen Hamilton and Ernst & Young, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA).
Click here for a copy of the REMI study.