Just the Facts on Carbon Tax: Twelve Facts to Rebut Ecofiscal Canada’s Ten Myths
LINK TO OUR REPORT: Just the Facts FINAL
Ecofiscal Canada has just issued a report on “10 Myths About Carbon Pricing in Canada.” We respond with 12 facts.
- Climate change is the last on the list of priorities for Canadians according to Ecofiscal’s own poll conducted by Abacus Data (Feb. 2018)
- There is no open debate on carbon taxes and climate policy. Canadian media does not support Freedom of Speech and Freedom of the Press on climate change.
- Extreme weather is unrelated to human influence on climate or carbon dioxide concentrations.
- Carbon tax is not effective in reducing carbon dioxide/GHG emissions.
- Carbon taxes hurt jobs and drive commerce and industry out-of-business or offshore. In 2013, the EU industry minister said such energy policies were causing an ‘industrial massacre’.
- Suggesting that a rebate (carbon dividend) is ‘larger than carbon cost to families’ is impossible math, deceptive and dishonest; the rebate does not incorporate the incremental rise in cost of living as carbon taxes are applied to everything. “Tax ‘em and bribe ‘em with their own money.”
- Canada one of the largest emitters? Faulty logic. Where is the climate justice for the world’s second largest, cold, vast, resource exporting nation?
- Elites versus the People – tax-free/tax-exempt/tax-avoiding pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and union funds see you as their ATM for unfunded pension liabilities.
- Fair and Equal? Green billionaires have funded the climate ‘crisis’ campaign for their own vested interests.
- A tax grab and more – watch for the ‘personal carbon ration’
- A cash grab by government – with an alarming scope of income that could be larger than even income taxes!
- Not science-based – Carbon dioxide is not a control knob that can fine tune climate. Therefore a carbon tax is unnecessary and irrelevant.
Now you may wonder why there is such a disparity of views. How can a group of highly qualified economists come to the Ecofiscal conclusion that supports carbon pricing – while another group of economists, scientists and Professional Engineers like Friends of Science Society reach a different conclusion?
The answer lies in the disconnect between the carbon tax ‘as a market mechanism’ and the grim reality of the scope of intended greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets. To many people, these are simply numbers to be reached – they are unaware of how deeply embedded the use of energy is in every aspect of modern life, or they falsely believe ‘clean-tech’ will solve the problem [the Apollo Fallacy[i]]. They don’t realize that ‘success’ – in this case – would mean catastrophe for Canada.
Robert Lyman, Ottawa energy policy consultant, former public servant and diplomat, outlines the crux of the matter in this summary:
Economists love carbon taxation because it is a market-based policy instrument, and thus, in their minds, more “economically efficient” than regulations and subsidy programs. They forget that such taxes are rarely, if ever, used as alternatives to regulations and subsidies – they just become redundant, costly add-ons.
But there is a far more important point. Taxes are just a policy instrument, and the instrument is nowhere near as important as the policy goal. The policy goal in the case of Canadian climate change policy is to reduce emissions by 30% from 2005 levels by 2030 and by at least 50% from 2005 levels by 2050. Canadian emissions were 704 megatonnes in 2016. To reach the 2030 target, they would have to decline by 192 megatonnes, and to reach the 2050 target they would have to decline by 338 megatonnes.
The entire emissions from transportation in 2016 were 173 megatonnes. So you could eliminate every car, SUV, truck, bus, aircraft, train and marine vessel in the country, and you still would not achieve the 2030 target. The 2050 target could not be attained if you eliminated all the transportation sources (173 Mt), all the heavy industry (81 Mt), and almost half the oil and gas operations (80 Mt out of 183 Mt). This is assuming zero growth in emissions due to economic or population growth.
How exactly, would you accomplish this by raising energy prices? You could only do so by raising them so high that you drove millions of people into bankruptcy and forced thousands of firms to cease operations and leave Canada. You won’t hear any carbon tax advocate talking about that.
That’s what it means for the nation. And what does this mean for the working person or pensioner?
Belgian philosopher Drieu Godefridi explains the reasons behind the persistent Gilets Jaunes/Yellow Vests anti-carbon tax movement in France:
This tax oppression mechanically condemns millions of formerly middle-class and working poor French people to a head-first plunge into poverty where they will no longer know how to pay for the necessities of life: heating, fuel, medical care, food.
It seems doubtful that the revolt of people is diminishing when the state progressively and aggressively confiscates the means of their subsistence, and finally their dignity.[ii]
Robert Lyman – Climate Change Policy: A Threat to Canada
Can Canada Survive Climate Change Policy?