Will Doug Ford please tell us what his carbon plan for Ontario is?
Stephen Harper never would admit that a levy—which he favoured—was the same as a carbon tax. Now one of his most fervent foot soldiers, Jason Kenney, is saying “yes” to a carbon tax or levy—to be paid by industries that emit carbon (Maclean's July, 2018).
Ontario's cap-and-trade system, which Mr. Ford is cancelling, is a carbon tax by another name. It forces emitters to buy credits/permits to continue emitting. The cost is an incentive to cut emissions through energy efficiencies or to push the cost onto consumers.
Think higher prices at the pump.
So Mr. Ford is not embracing a carbon tax on industry and certainly not one on the consumer (lowering the cost of gas is his priority). He should understand that he can rebate consumer carbon taxes to consumers (Alberta) or can lower income taxes (British Columbia), or he can do what Jason Kenney suggests and put the revenue from a carbon tax into a tech fund which could be used to promote energy savings and renewable energy.
Is the premier looking at carbon sequestration (underground storage) like Saskatchewan? Mr. Kenney also is looking at incentive programs to persuade homeowners to make their homes more energy-efficient (new windows, furnaces, and insulation).
Mr. Ford is not talking about either of these options and is busy cancelling renewable energy contracts. He should think about it. Alberta's renewable energy contracts are producing electricity at 3.7 cents per kwh.
And while he is looking in Alberta's direction, he should look to Jason Kenney. An intelligent conservative, he believes climate change is a real problem which needs solutions.
He is looking into the future and making plans. Meanwhile, Doug (“Model T”) Ford is taking Ontarians on a nostalgic road trip into a vanished past, pretending he can navigate the future by keeping his eyes locked on a rear-view mirror.
There is no one way and no perfect solution to reducing green-house gas emissions, but we have to do something.
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