Opinion: An open letter to Premier Christy Clark regarding the Canadian Energy Strategy

By on July 16, 2015
opinion

Dear Premier Clark:

You have important work to do at the July 15 to 17 meeting of the Council of the Federation in St. John’s.

Canadians are counting on you and all premiers to conclude an agreement on a Canadian Energy Strategy that can grow the economy, add jobs, increase our competitiveness in the world, and make our air and water cleaner.

We beseech you that the Canadian Energy Strategy commits to ensuring provinces and territories develop credible climate protection plans that include carbon pricing.

One of the largest market failures in the history of humanity is the exclusion of the damages caused by the consumption of fossil fuels — the social cost of carbon.

Until this market distortion is corrected, humanity is on track for a global increase of 6C, which experts agree will seriously compromise civilization.

It is time Canada internalized the costs of carbon pollution.

The B.C. carbon tax is a great example of a well-designed environmental tax.

In fact, it’s been praised by the OECD, the World Bank, and the Economist for being a leading example of its kind and a textbook case of how environmental taxes should work.

There’s only one problem. The B.C. carbon tax has been frozen at $30/tonne because subnational government cannot enact border tax adjustments to protect their manufacturing and agricultural industries.

Recognizing that global carbon pricing is inevitable and a desire for Canada to reclaim our environmental leadership on the international stage like we did for acid rain and ozone depletion, we urge the premiers to consider these five core principles of effective carbon pricing when determining a carbon pricing policy that must ultimately be synchronized across Canada, North America and the world:

1) A steady, resolute and rising carbon price.

2) Internalizing costs incrementally, steadily and with no leakage.

3) Simple, transparent, effective at reducing emissions.

4) Building economic value at the human scale.

5) Easy to implement: country by country, harmonizing across borders.

B.C. is to be congratulated for having a 2020 goal of reducing GHG emissions to 33 per cent below 2007 levels.

We are proud of the success achieved by B.C.’s carbon tax since 2008.

It is now time to build on this foundation.

We encourage all premiers to advance a Canadian Energy Strategy that delivers climate protection with a robust carbon pricing policy and charts a path forward toward a climate-friendly economy for Canadians today and into the future.

 

Sincerely,

Citizens’ Climate Lobby

Michael Jessen, Nelson

Laura Sacks, Castlegar

Anni Holtby and Mike Geisler, Bonnington

Allan Early, Crescent Valley

Janet Mcintyre, Rossland

Jim Berrill, Slocan Park Dona and Paul Grace-Campbell, Kaslo

Susan Eyre, Yahk

Maxwell Sykes, Chilliwack

Jan Slakov, Salt Spring Island

Peter Bateman, Victoria

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