Carbon fee and dividend offers climate change solution

Writer advocates returning carbon fees to the public as dividends.

Dear Editor

Is the public mood shifting on climate change? Polls indicate that people have felt for a long time that global warming is an important issue. Now it seems they think it’s time we take action.

On New Year’s Day I placed a petition on Care2 calling for a Canada-wide referendum on carbon fee-and-dividend. Within two and a half days there were 100 names on it.

This compares with the seven months to reach 100 names it took a similar petition I placed on Care2 in 2013.

Despite what the tobacco salespeople tell us, the science on climate change is rock solid. Human beings are warming the planet. The consequences will be serious and they could be catastrophic. The sooner we act, the better.

James Hansen, one of the world’s leading climate scientists, has advocated carbon fee-and-dividend for many years as the best approach to control global warming.

The fee would be similar to a carbon tax, in that it would be charged on fossil fuels at source. Rather than going into general revenues, however, the money would distributed as equal and recurring dividends to every adult.

A Canada-wide carbon fee set at the same level as B.C.’s carbon tax of $30 per tonne of carbon dioxide would generate about $20 billion per year – enough to give every adult living in Canada an annual fossil fuel dividend of about $1,000.

Economists estimate that two thirds of the population would receive more from the dividend than they would pay in carbon fees.

My petition calls for a Canada-wide referendum on carbon fee-and-dividend. Imposing such a system would be a major step and deserves national debate.

In Switzerland (population eight million), a petition of 100,000 names is enough to bring an important question to national referendum. In Canada (population 35 million), an equivalent number would be about 400,000.

My petition will be on Care2 for one year – all of 2015. If we are going to reach the 400,000 target, we will need more than 1,000 names per day.

Care2 is a social networking website with close to 30 million members that offers convenient and secure petition-hosting. Care2 partners include World Wildlife Fund, Environmental Defense Fund and Human Rights Campaign.

I would greatly appreciate it if you would consider putting your name on the petition, and if you would encourage your friends and neighbours to do the same.

I believe that your children and grandchildren will thank you as well.

The URL of the petition is: www.thepetitionsite.com/850/161/365/petition-for-a-referendum-on-carbon-fee-and-dividend-for-canada/

If you want more information about carbon fee-and-dividend, go to the Citizens Climate Lobby-Canada website at: http://citizensclimatelobby.ca

Keith McNeill

Clearwater

[Keith McNeill is the editor of the Clearwater-North Thompson Times.]

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