Climate Change and the Ontario PC Party

This, our second commentary on Climate Change Questions to Leaders of the Ontario Political Parties, has been a challenge.   We delivered our questions to Tim Hudak’s constituency riding and the Party’s Campaign Headquarters in Toronto. We didn’t get an answer directly from Mr. Hudak or his Party’s Election HQ but we twice received this response from his constituency office:

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BC’s Revenue-Neutral Carbon Tax will work for Ontario

Reducing Emissions and Creating Jobs

The world has already warmed about 1 degree Celsius from greenhouse gases. Past CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions commit us to another three quarters of a degree or so in the decades ahead.  Ultimately, global greenhouse gas emissions from human activities must be reduced by 60-90%.  Yet Canadian emissions continue to increase. The current Canadian government has committed to a 17% reduction in CO2 from 2005 to 2020. However, the expected 2020 value is expected to be close to the 2005 benchmark because the implementation of industry regulations is slow. See Canada’s Emission Trends, 2013, Environment Canada . Some politicians have questioned why Canada should act any faster, given that we produce only about 2% of the world’s CO2. For comparison, Canada’s contribution to the Second World War made up only about 2% of allied forces, but no one questions the importance of that contribution to the world!

We need more effective ways to reduce our carbon emissions. Fortunately, one such policy exists: a carbon tax which gives companies and individuals the incentive to reduce emissions. In short, we tax the things we don’t want (e.g., pollution) and use that money to lower taxes on things we do want (e.g., jobs).  A carbon tax is simple to administer and implement.

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What the heck is a Polar Vortex anyway?

We here in Peterborough were caught in a cold snap for much of January and February, the coldest stretch in decades. Everywhere I went people were complaining about the winter and asking what happened to Global Warming. The weather reports were all talking about the Polar Vortex. What the heck is a Polar Vortex anyway?

Can we reconcile the apparent discrepancy between the coldest January in decades and global warming? I think so, and there is even pretty good evidence that the cold snap was caused by global warming.

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Guelph Climate Change Forum Report

On October 19 in Guelph about 150 people gathered to hear Stéphane Dion and Andrew Nikiforuk present their views on Climate Change. The Guelph Mercury captured highlights of the event in this video on their web site.

M. Dion’s presentation proposed a world wide carbon tax as a mechanisms that might break the logjam that is currently preventing progress in international climate change negotiations. The result of such a tax would be that the price of products that use more fossil fuels in their creation and distribution would increase relative to the price of  products that use less.  Of course this would lead to all producers and consumers actively seeking alternatives that use less fossil fuels. While he proposed that each country would be free to do whatever they liked with the revenue generated, it is his vision that wealthier countries would use it at least partially to help disadvantaged countries. Read the text of a similar talk that he gave at the Pacific Coast Collaborative leaders’ forum in San Francisco on October 28.

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