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.”
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?
Response: 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).
Life feels incredibly busy these days; not only is it gardening season, there’s so much happening on the climate front as well as personally that it’s hard to keep up. I’m preparing to travel to Washington DC this weekend, along with my husband and 19 other Canadian climate activists. We’re going to be joining over 330 people from across the United States who are also concerned about the impacts of climate change for future generations, to lobby for a price on carbon pollution. We Canadians are joining our American CCL colleagues in Washington because the issue of climate change has no borders, and because this is an issue that will impact both of our nation’s economies. Our grassroots organization, Citizens Climate Lobby (CCL) has over 100 chapters across North America. CCL was formed in 2007 by Grameen Foundation Humanitarian award winner Marshall Saunders, in order to organize and empower citizens to lobby for the political will for a liveable world. CCL volunteers are focusing our lobbying efforts on putting a price on carbon pollution through a carbon fee and dividend.
Cathy Orlando, Canada’s National Manager for CCL feels that it is important for Canadians to lobby in Washington DC because, “the Harper Government has shown us through their actions and in writing that they are intent on aligning Canada’s climate and energy policies with the USA’s policies.”
A recent article over at SkepticalScience.com highlighted Citizens Climate Lobby, and the importance of putting a price on carbon:
Putting a price on carbon emissions is a key climate solution. Failing to price carbon emissions is effectively a massive subsidy, estimated at about $800 billion per year globally by the International Monetary Fund. However, that estimate was based on a carbon damages cost that was recently revised upwards by about 50% by the US government, based on up-to-date economic modeling. Using conservative assumptions, global subsidies for the climate costs of carbon emissions now exceed $1.1 trillion per year, and may be much higher.
The absence of a carbon price to account for those costs is a failure of the free market. It prevents citizens from making informed purchasing decisions, because the actual costs of the products they buy are not accurately reflected in their market prices. When it comes to climate costs, American and Canadian consumers are flying blind. Unfortunately we can’t avoid paying the costs of climate damage forever, and they are reflected in effects like rising food prices when crops are decimated by extreme weather like heat waves and droughts, with contributions from human-caused climate change. (Click here to read the full article on SkepticalScience.com)
The article included videos featuring two different climate scientists discussing CCL’s effectiveness, which I’m reposting here. Dr James Hansen, recently retired from NASA, is in the first video, and Dr Katherine Hayhoe from Texas Tech University is in the second one:
In the midst of all of this week’s busyness came some sad news. A younger cousin of mine who had been struggling with ALS-like symptoms since 2009, passed on earlier this week. Today’s post is dedicated to Rhonda, who will always be an example of courage, grace, and faith in the face of extraordinary challenges. I am humbled by how Rhonda lived her life.