We're Doomed. Now What?

I just finished reading the O’Hagan Essay on Public Affairs by Chris Turner in the November issue of the Walrus. It is a refreshing balanced article on Canada’s progress on the climate file.

I am so tired, as many Canadians must be about the political rhetoric and frankly, lack of evidence-based decision-making on implementing carbon taxes by provincial premiers. As Turner points out in his article, there is unprecedented agreement among economists and academics on the merit of carbon pricing. ”A flat, economy-wide  tax on every tonne of carbon dioxide emitted is simple and transparent. Setting up a carbon tax is fast, cheap, and requires almost no addition bureaucracy to administer. And, because fossil-fuel flows are large in scale, readily counted, and governed by bottlenecks such as refineries and power plants, tracking greenhouse gas emissions is far easier than it is for most pollutants.”

He goes on to argue that by changing the way prices are set for virtually everything bought and sold, the carbon tax rewrites the baseline operating code of an economy. What more evidence do our political leaders need to move beyond ideological divides and implement a nation-wide carbon pricing system that systematically increases to change behaviour in the cost-effective and efficient way? After all, in a capitalist economy, the power of price signals is a major incentive.

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