Many Canadian politicians have criticized a carbon tax. The newly-elected Premier of Alberta, Jason Kenney, described it as “the carbon tax cash grab”. Premier Doug Ford of Ontario referred to it as “the worst tax ever”, claiming that putting a price on carbon will increase the price “of everything”. Ford welcomed Kenny as another strong ally in the fight against the “job-killing carbon tax.”
The premiers of several other Provinces – Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick – have joined Alberta and Ontario in legal efforts to block the Federal carbon tax. This “coalition” has not advanced any concrete proposals how carbon emissions from fossil fuels could be reduced. And no one has explained exactly how Canada will meet its Paris emission targets without a price on carbon – which conservative thinkers agree would be a market incentive to work towards a lower carbon society.
Contrast this self-centered political promotion with the recently concluded Vatican summit on the consumption of fossil fuels. The Vatican said attendees at the closed-door meeting included the CEOs of Royal Dutch Shell, Eni, BP, Repsol, Conoco Phillips, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and executives of investment funds.
In his remarks to energy executives at the end of a two-day meeting, Pope Francis called for “open, transparent, science-based and standardized” reporting of climate risk and a “radical energy transition” away from carbon to save the planet.
Carbon pricing, via taxes or emissions trading schemes, is used by many governments to make energy consumers pay for the costs of using the fossil fuels that contribute to global warming, and to spur investment in low-carbon technology.
The Pope referred to his Encyclical, Laudato Si, and summarized the potential conflict and its attendant risks in these words:
“Civilization requires energy, but energy use must not destroy civilization, . . . our desire to ensure energy for all must not lead to the undesired effect of a spiral of extreme climate changes due to a catastrophic rise in global temperatures, harsher environments, and increased levels of poverty.”