LETTERS: Grumbling about taxes while B.C. burns

Two letters from readers Judy O’Leary and Laura Sacks

Re: “Canada’s carbon tax house of cards is falling down” (Sept. 9)

I appreciate Tom Fletcher’s column on carbon pricing. We need to talk about this. I am wondering though where Mr. Fletcher spent his summer. The “planetary weather” he refers to was pretty hot and smoky where I was.

As summers become drastically hotter, drier and longer, droughts and wildfires are getting much worse. The science is clear: fossil fuel pollution increases the greenhouse effect, and climate change is all too real. It is happening right now.

I actually agree with Mr. Fletcher that a revenue neutral carbon price is a good idea. Our main concern however, should be keeping a rising price on carbon pollution with no exemptions. That is the most cost efficient way to signal the market to shift investment to low carbon energy and avoid the worst impacts of climate change.

Rather than grumbling about a few dollars at the gas pump, we should be asking Minister Michelle Mungall about the minimal taxes paid by large gas companies who benefit from B.C.’s extremely generous royalty and tax credit while polluting our air and water. We should also be asking why fracking operations pay no carbon tax on the significant amounts of methane that leak into our atmosphere.

Thanks again Mr. Fletcher for raising this important issue. I hope you now pursue the real story on taxes here.

Judy O’Leary

Nelson

Re: “Canada’s carbon tax house of cards is falling down” (Sept. 9)

I am disturbed by the tone of Mr. Fletcher’s latest opinion piece, where he dismisses the integrity of BC’s carbon tax as “just another sales tax.” In fact, the majority of the revenue continues to go toward protecting households and businesses from rising prices through tax cuts, industry incentives, and low income tax credits.

After this summer’s record smoke and wildfires, I am feeling increasingly anxious about climate change. The reality is that, if we want to leave a liveable world for our children and grandchildren, we need to ramp up our actions.

Contrary to Mr. Fletcher’s assertion, other countries like China are leading the charge. At the G20 summit in June, MP Richard Cannings noted that the Chinese minister said they are moving as fast as possible from coal directly to renewables, and that “there is no such thing as clean fossil fuels.” China is joining France and Germany in phasing out the sale of gasoline and diesel powered vehicles.

Globally we have a huge economic opportunity to create a better world. Climate solutions could add $26 trillion to the global economy and create 65 million new jobs by 2030, according to a new report by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.

They also emphasize the importance of ramping up carbon pricing to accelerate this process. Already 25% of the world’s countries are pricing carbon, but the price is too low in most places to drive transformational change.

In BC, we have a fantastic opportunity to take the lead by increasing our carbon tax because it incentivizes low carbon solutions – the more you pollute, the more you pay.

Let’s get beyond the polarization and get serious about solving the climate crisis. I prefer author Paul Hawken’s message that “it’s not game over, it’s game on!”

Laura Sacks

Castlegar, BC

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