Pierre Poilievre protests the carbon tax while Alberta burns as a result of climate change

The Carbon Tax

How do people feel about the carbon tax? 14 cents per litre of gasoline, about $5.60 extra per 40L tank. 17 cents per litre of diesel/furnace oil.

The carbon tax is a ‘market solutions’ approach to climate change; by increasing the cost of carbon, it reduced the demand, and moves us away from carbon consumption. And by returning the money by reducing the cost of green products, it create more demand for those, creating an incentive to create and sell green products.

I do support it, but only provisionally.

Arguably, and I would argue, the carbon tax is essentially a way of charging the actual cost of these fuels to the people who use them. Because the cost of, say, gasoline doesn’t end when it leaves your exhaust pipe. Carbon products create a much larger cost in the form of environmental damage. You create that damage? Well, you can pay for it.

We’ve seen a lot of resistance to the carbon tax, which is interpreted as, well, a tax. My own attitude to such resistance is to say, “well, fine, if you don’t like the free market approach we’ll just make carbon-burning products illegal.”

This will make your existing car worthless. It will make auto plants and gas stations worthless. It will create huge demand for non-carbon alternatives, driving the prices up. Gas and oil powered electricity plants would be shut down. It would cost everybody a ton of money. People will be desperate to buy heat pumps, solar panels, windmills, anything that produces power.

The other response is to not do anything at all. That’s the approach most people and governments have taken so far. That’s the route that will cost the most of all as one climate crisis after another overwhelms us. Fires, floods, storms, droughts, wars – all this is already happening, and this is just the beginning. We will be faced with the cost of accommodating hundreds of millions of climate refugees, or just letting them die.

So, I support the carbon tax. I’d rather just shut down the carbon-burning economy entirely, but I get that people need time to adapt. But adapt quickly – we’re running out of time.

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