Editor, The Times:
Some Clearwater residents might have been surprised recently if they saw me setting up a sign for Liberal Party of Canada candidate Terry Lake next to Park Drive.
I have been a supporter of the Green Party for many years. Before that, it was the NDP.
Why the change?
The answer comes down to just a few words: carbon fee-and-dividend.
When I was Clearwater Times editor I often promoted carbon fee-and-dividend as a method to control human-caused climate change.
Carbon fee-and-dividend means putting a fee on fossil fuels similar to a carbon tax. Unlike a tax, however, the money collected would not go into general government revenue but instead would be distributed to everyone as equal dividends.
Climate scientist Dr. James Hansen, many leading economists such as Nobel prize winner Joseph Stiglitz, and Citizens Climate Lobby have argued for years that carbon fee-and-dividend is the most powerful tool available to reduce our use of fossil fuels.
A fee on fossil fuels is the best way to put a price on the carbon dioxide they produce when burned.
Distributing the money as equal dividends would make the fee politically acceptable, as it would shelter middle- and low-income earners from its effects.
The dividend also would create a market for the new inventions we need to make the transition away from fossil fuels.
Except for two exceptions that I know of, carbon fee-and-dividend has not been implemented anywhere in the world.
One exception was the carbon tax in B.C., which includes some elements of carbon fee-and-dividend.
Another exception is Canada’s federal backstop carbon pricing program that was implemented last spring in the four provinces that did not adequately price carbon.
With 90 per cent of the money collected being returned as equal rebates to everyone, it is the closest thing to pure carbon fee-and-dividend anywhere in the world.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the future of the world hinges on the outcome of Canada’s upcoming federal election.
The fossil fuel industry is mounting a ferocious assault to unseat the present government and do away with the program.
If we lose it here, it could be several years before it is tried somewhere else. We do not have that time.
We need to prove that it works on a smaller scale before we can implement it globally.
With his extensive government experience, including a stint as B.C.’s minister of environment, I believe that Terry Lake is the Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo candidate best qualified to make sure Canada retains carbon fee-and-dividend.