For all the apparent controversy around a national carbon price for Canada, it’s hard to see what all the fuss about, stated Dale Marshall, Environmental Defence’s national program manager, climate and energy, in a recent analysis on Huffington Post.
The continuing discord around carbon pricing “may be surprising, given the near unanimity among economists, climate change experts, and leaders in government and industry that putting a price on carbon is an essential tool to fight climate change,” Marshall wrote July 22, in the lead-up to the provincial and territorial premiers’ meeting in Whitehorse. “A price on carbon—via a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system—is widely agreed to be among the most efficient ways to tackle carbon emissions that create climate change.”
Marshall listed the reasons for some provinces and territories to oppose any carbon price, or to worry that a national pricing system might undermine the pricing systems they’ve already put in place.
But “carbon pricing can and should be designed so that nobody and no province is left behind,” he wrote, and the bottom line is that “burning fossil fuels imposes costs on everyone. The cost of food is going up because climate change impacts our agricultural crops. Insurance costs more because of more extreme weather, such as the recent floods in Toronto and Calgary and the wildfires in Fort McMurray. Air pollution affects the health of Canadians and imposes costs on our health care system.”
All of which underscores the opportunity for Canada to take action now. “We have a federal government that wants to move forward on climate action and many willing premiers,” Marshall noted. “It’s time all our elected officials come together to create a safe climate future by offering incentives for innovation, more efficient use of energy, and greater investment in clean energy.”