Climate change, an issue of debate for many decades now, indeed a fixed point in the world view of millennials, continues to be a matter of discussion on many fronts. Canada had one of the largest ‘teams’ of delegates at the Paris climate change conference in 2015 where, along with 194 other countries Canada suggested that the actions of human beings in restricting pollution could keep the global temperature rise in the 21st century below 2 degrees Celsius above presumed pre-industrial levels, and to pursue efforts to limit the increase further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
The Canadian government also stated an intention, that by 2030, Canada’s polluting emissions would be further cut by 30 per cent from 2005 levels. Canada would monitor and report emissions, and meet with representatives of other concerned nations every five years to review progress being made.
Canada also agreed along with other developed countries to contribute to spending at least $100-billion a year between 2020 and 2025 to help emerging economies deal with pollution related issues. We were urged to save our remaining intact forests and to leave our native fossil fuel resources in the ground. Our federal government pledged to develop a pollution control strategy with the provinces and also with our North American neighbors.
Climate strategies’ have several components: government support for “renewable energy” sources such as solar panels and wind farms; energy efficiency programs motivating upgrading to more efficient energy usage technologies in buildings and various appliances; vehicle electrification—its own category and one that Road Rules addresses regularly; and some form of carbon pricing, now on its way to becoming a real issue of critical important for all Canadians.
On Monday, January 15th, 2018 the federal Environment Minister released draft carbon tax legislation consisting of 236 pages of “complex regulatory mechanisms” basically proposing a carbon price starting at $10 a tonne and increasing to $50 a tonne by 2022 to incentivize reduced emissions through increasingly stringent pricing.
What all this is about is increasing the cost of traditional fuels. Time to look at an electric car or hybrid in your near future. Or perhaps using public transportation.
Essentially this proposed legislation challenges all provinces to either match their own provincial carbon-pricing schemes with these criteria or face the prospect of Ottawa levying and collecting the tax itself “whether they liked it or not.” While four provinces—Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia— have carbon-pricing schemes currently in place, the other provinces do not, and upcoming elections in Ontario and Alberta may also move these two provinces into the non-compliant line-up.
The National Post newspaper on March 16th stated: “most pundits have taken the federal Liberals’ word that the carbon tax is going to happen, whether provinces sign on to it or not. …In reality, though, a growing number of provinces are girding for battle in what could be a federal/provincial showdown for the ages. Far from being certain of getting its way, the federal government likely lacks the weapons it needs to win.”
Whether human activity influences changes in climate to a threatening extent, is not really the issue. Everyone agrees that is we should try to get around without creating soot or whatever. And that is what will happen, regardless of the fervent political philosophy related to the discussion. Obviously, clean is better.