Internalizing the Externalities of Fossil Fuels

It’s time to internalize the externalities of the fossil fuel industry. For far too long, the extremely high price we all pay in the pollution of our “commons” – air, water, and climate, which also affects the health of far too many of us, has been ignored by governments and the fossil fuel industry. Putting a steadily increasing price on carbon would be an excellent place to start to change this, as well as ending the taxpayer subsidies to dirty energy. Imagine your first carbon-dividend cheque; citizens benefiting from addressing climate change, while the polluter pays.

graphic: Citizens Climate Lobby Canada
graphic: Citizens Climate Lobby Canada

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The question isn’t if, but when, Canada puts a price on carbon. That we are getting close is clear by this news article in the Globe & Mail yesterday, about the Alberta government considering a significant carbon levy (it currently has a negligible $15 per tonne on industry carbon that exceeds certain levels). From an article in yesterday’s Globe & Mail, Alberta’s Bold Plan to Cut Emissions Stuns Ottawa and the Oil Industry:

The Alberta government has quietly presented a proposal to sharply increase levies on carbon production and force large oil-industry producers to slash greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 40 per cent on each barrel of production, a long-term plan that has surprised Ottawa and industry executives with its ambition.

It may not be time to get out the dance shoes yet, as Alberta’s Minister of the Environment, Diana McQueen, responded to the G & M article by saying Alberta is a “long way” from imposing higher carbon levies on the oil industry:

We are currently in the early stages of exploring a variety of options through a collaborative process with industry, the federal government and our department experts,” she said in a statement.

“These discussions are ongoing and revised targets have not yet been finalized.” (via Huff Post).

If you live in Alberta, please call or write Ms. McQueen or Premier Redford to show your support for pricing carbon (contact info listed below).

In the meantime, while I was typing this, a movement in our front yard caught my eye, and it turned out to be a beautiful red fox visiting. Before she disappeared into the bush, I snapped the picture below. I’m going to take it as a message to get off my computer and out into this beautiful sunny northern Ontario morning. Hope all of you  have a wonderful weekend, full of sunshine and connections with people and activities you love.

My Friday visitor
My Friday visitor

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More links/info:

Premier Alison Redford’s contact info: 780-427-2251, Alberta Minister of the Environment Diana McQueen: 780-427-2391. Or click on this link to send your Alberta MLA an email.

IMF, Citing $1.9 Trillion in Government Subsidies, Calls For End To Energy “Mispricing”

The Wall Street Journal: Climate Change Is The Risk that Intensifies All Others

Need more inspiration to take action? Remember the Exxon-Mobil pipeline rupture in Mayflower, Arkansas this week, and the shocking scenes of Alberta bitumen flooding residential neighbourhoods:

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dont worry arkansas
Graphic: Mike Rilestone

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