“Climate change is a result of the greatest market failure the world has seen,” says Sir Nicholas Stern, former chief economist at the World Bank.
It could be argued that climate change is also the greatest failure of journalism the world has ever seen.
It was to correct this shortcoming in some small way that longtime North Thompson resident Jean Nelson and your editor undertook a bicycle ride from Clearwater to Kelowna recently.
The ostensible purpose of the ride was to get more names on Parliamentary petition e-297, which was posted online by Citizens Climate Lobby-Canada and that calls for nationwide carbon fee-and-dividend as a way to control climate change.
A more important reason was to get some media coverage of climate change and of carbon fee-and-dividend.
Carbon fee-and-dividend would see a fee charged on fossil fuels, similar to a carbon tax. Unlike a tax, however, the money collected would not go into general government revenue but would be distributed to everyone as equal dividends.
A Canada-wide carbon fee-and-dividend set at the same level as B.C.’s carbon tax of $30 per tonne of CO2 would generate enough revenue to give every adult in Canada dividends of close to $1,000 per year.
Knowing human nature, once people started receiving those cheques in the mail, they would want to see them increased more and more, even if it meant crippling the fossil fuel industry – which is the object of the whole exercise.
Canada-wide carbon fee-and-dividend would not be the whole answer, of course. There is going to have to be a coherent set of solutions and they are going to have to be global to achieve what needs to be done.
We achieved some success with our ride. We got stories and/or photos in the Clearwater Times, Barriere Star/Journal, Kamloops This Week, Salmon Arm Observer, Vernon Morning Star and possibly Kelowna Capital News. We also did radio interviews for CHLW in Barriere and CHNL in Kamloops.
Our postings on Facebook gathered up to 800 viewers and many positive comments.
So we got the word out to several thousand people, many of whom no doubt had never heard of carbon fee-and-dividend before. The petition, however, only got about another two dozen names during our campaign, meaning there is more work to do.
We began our ride on Wednesday, Aug. 3 from Clearwater. Day one took us to Barriere, day two to Kamloops, day three Chase, day four Salmon Arm, day five was a rest day in Salmon Arm, then Vernon and Kelowna.
We started cycling between 6 and 7 a.m. each day, thereby avoiding the worst of the heat and the traffic.
Your editor only cycled to Enderby, where increasing ankle pain (Achille’s tendon) caused me to end my trip early.
Former Clearwater resident Don Cominetti came to pick us up and then surprised us by offering us his propane-powered pickup to drive home in.
Jean continued on, cycling from Vernon to Kelowna the following day, Aug. 9.
We ended our trip at the UBC-Okanagan campus north of Kelowna, where we spent some time “tabling” to tell people about Citizens Climate Lobby and carbon fee-and-dividend.
Petition e-297 will be online until Sept. 8, so there is still time to add your name. The easiest way to find it is to search on Google for the words: e-297, petition and parliament.
This is a big deal, folks. Please help.
Inset photos -Top: Jean Nelson and Keith McNeill pause for a “selfie” on the bridge over the South Thompson River in Kamloops.
Middle: Jean Nelson stops for a break while cycling from Vernon to Kelowna on the last day of the trip. Behind her is the propane-powered pickup lent by former Clearwater resident Don Cominetti for the return journey.
Below: Keith McNeill and Jean Nelson do some “tabling” on the UBC-Okanagan campus north of Kelowna.