We the people of this planet demand a price on carbon pollution. We are all paying for carbon pollution. We’re paying for it in dollars, in lives, in livelihoods, and in every way imaginable, and the truth is, we simply cannot afford to pay it any longer. (The Climate Reality Project).
The climate is changing. Extreme weather is disrupting livelihoods and food supplies around the world. This is observed. This is documented. This is the scientific community’s consensus. The climate IS changing. Carbon emissions are driving that change. (Citizens’ Climate Lobby).
Demand a Price on Carbon
Published on Feb 2, 2015
Narrated by Ian Somerhalder
Standard YouTube License
Emissions come from burning fossil fuels. So if we want to slow — or even reverse — the change, we must lower fossil fuel use. By charging a fee on fossil fuels, and returning that revenue to households as a dividend, we can do just that… starting a chain of positive effects:
- Fossil fuels become less desirable.
- Cleaner sources of energy become more competitive.
- The dividend creates millions of jobs.
- Carbon emissions go down.
- Reduced air pollution saves tens of thousands of lives.
- And climate change is brought under control.
How it Works
Why it Works
We Can Fix This Problem
We can make this happen. But enacting a carbon fee and dividend isn’t in our hands. It’s in their hands. How do WE sway THEM? What can WE do?
We can use our voices to express political will, and demand action. We must help our elected leaders work together. It’s on us to tell them what we want—as a group. Because when voices call out together, their impact multiplies.
Government can respond to the will of the people, provided we tell the government what we want. And what we want is a livable world. (Citizens’ Climate Lobby).
Each one of us must take climate action. And when our voices call out together, our impact multiplies. We can fix this.
Rolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Reality leader, a blogger and an Climate Activist. Rolly has been published widely – Toronto Star, The Hill Times, Kingston Whig, the PEN, UnpublishedOttawa, Climate Change Guide, World Daily, Examiner, The Canadian, 350Ottawa, ClimateMama, MyEarth360, GreenDivas, The Elephant, Countercurrents, Georgian Bay News.
He’s a member of Climate Reality Canada, Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Ottawa) and 350.Org (Ottawa). You can follow him on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin.
Our tax dollars are currently funding planetary pollution and the resultant ecocide. You do not have to tolerate the rip off. Grab a hand. Make a stand. Show pollutocrats who’s in command.
Right on Leif.
Well, I suppose that a carbon tax at least starts corporations thinking about cleaner technologies. The only downside is the logistics of administration over the redistribution of the “tax.” It sounds costly (administration) to give it only to those who need it. I am not against such a thing in principle (of course), but such onerous programs usually end up in budget cuts when times are difficult. I don’t imagine that it would take long for Governments to decide that monies collected, will be used for the “Green Carbon Fund” for less wealthy nations, or, (less attractive), to keep it for more pressing emergency financial needs of the day. Either way, the money disappears.
The little guy will eventually be the one who pays the price. Even under a left-wing Government, costs rise on well-meaning social programs and eventually incur huge defects (costs that also eventually filter down to the little guy).
Carbon taxes are also difficult to administer world wide. Canadians wouldn’t be very pleased to find they are paying double the price for fuel and energy of other countries around them. Such inequalities cause unrest and political instability. One only has to look at the problems in Greece to realise that you cannot “rob Peter to pay Paul.”
“Circular Capitalism” is one idea worth considering, but the answers won’t come easily to break our love affair with fossil fuels.
For any idea to truly work, altruism needs to lie as the core principle! Unless we stop our “selfishness,” we are never going to make any progress in changing our world to a better place for our grandchildren. We should begin by teaching our kids kindness to all, to love the natural world and to recognise that our survival depends on preserving the symbiotic biodiversity of our planet. I don’t see this happening fast enough. Our schools need to be teaching the idea that oil-based technologies are outdated, antiquated and a realm for the history classes. Instead, classes in biology, chemistry, and physics, should be refocused on our coexistence with the rest of nature, not offered up as though some separate foreign world we will never connect with.
Likewise, further education must concentrate less on the capitalistic nature of the society that children are pushed towards (earnings potential being much of the driving force), and instead focus on education that creates social cohesion through development of ideas that benefit everyone. This means that the “learning” should be more individual without the peer pressure to conform to models that older generations have instituted (we know that they don’t work and are outdated for our highly populated world).
Our taxing system (world-wide) has developed largely from a religeous idea that everyone should give 10% of their wealth to be re-distributed in God’s realm of church and state on Earth. One only has to look at the facts to know that the “church” became very wealthy and powerful over the millenia. Our Govermental states operate in much the same fashion. Statistcs show that most taxes are collected at the bottom of the pyramid from low and middle income workers. There are too few at the top to accummulate tax wealth so ultimately left-wing parties also have to tax their own workers.
Our tax system needs to be revised to a “think globally, act locally” system. Taxes should be collected at the local level with a percentage of that assigned to go to national and global symbiotic programs (transport, water, food and energy distribution, and healthcare). It is a fair method of taxing based on the local economic systems (your tax is only higher when you earn more because you live in a wealthy economic system).
If we could do this globally, abject poverty would disappear, wars would cease. The problem is that without “altruism” governing our motives, we can never implement such a system. It only takes “one rotten apple” to turn the whole barrel!
I decided to carry on in a second post (as the first is so long).
To get back to carbon taxing …it really will not pay for the development of cleaner technologies, or compensate us while cleaner technologies are developed. All it really accomplishes is a little slap on the wrist – a penance for all of us by the church-er-government state. It will only end up in the government coffers and nowhere else. This is why many ggovernments have embraced the idea of carbon taxing so readily…it is simple economics, not altruism driving motives!
Hello Colette – This is just a quick response to carbon taxing. I agree with you that the taxing method used by the EU – Cap and Trade – has not worked very well. There is a lot of documentation on this and thus I will not elaborate further. But there are mechanisms for taxing carbon which are proving to be quite successful. In British Columbia (one of the Canadian provinces), a revenue-neutral carbon tax has been a huge success both for the environment and for the provincial economy. Another mechanism is the Carbon Fee and Dividend whereby the total carbon revenue is returned to individual citizens to offset the higher cost of energy as we transition to a lower carbon economy. Here are a few links to posts I’ve written on the subject.
I read your four articles and you make a good case for the BC carbon tax system that bypasses the usual collection methods and returns the tax to good citizens who reduce their carbon footprint. A reward system surely works better than penalty systems. I hope it can be rolled out successfully in the other provinces. It certainly looks more promising in Canada than elsewhere.
I am, at the moment, visiting Thailand. In SouthEast Asia, it looks a long way from any sort of resolution of the carbon pumped into the atmosphere here. Air quality resembles the same lung-defeating smog I remember in early 1960’s coal dependent Britain. They are 50 years behind the rest of the West in terms of tackling the pollution problems.
Most of SouthEast Asia seems to operate in a rat-run environment of burn and build. The forests are disappearing taking the wildlife with them. Agrobusiness is big business here. Vast plantations of monoculture crops like palm oil, sugar cane and rice, etc, now dominate the landscape. To even suggest to these people that they should start using clean technologies is met with stares. The number of cars here is phenomenal as are the traffic jams in cities. A walk along a city street results in filthy black feet, struggling lungs and increased exhaustion in the smoggy temperatures. This is the reality.
City people are in a separate world of mass consumerism here. It is difficult to see that 0• Carbon targets will be reached here by 2050. Thailand is still under martial law while even the most basic problems are sorted out. Other countries out here have similar problems. While Canada and other Western countries sort their pollution out over the next decade, it is unlikely that this part of the planet will have changed much.
I’m afraid that seeing the world (as I do), I see the limitations of idealism when confronted with daunting depletion of environment, biodiversity and even humanity. It tends to jade one’s view! I should be more positive.
Hi Colette – I was in SE Asia a couple of years back and visited both Beijing and Bangkok and I do remember the thick pollution and traffic congestion. You could actually taste the smog. Although I agree that SE Asian countries seem oblivious to the air pollution they’re producing, there does come a point when people begin to ask their government questions. China has been forced to take measures to control its pollution especially in large cities like Beijing. Citizens will revolt when they start wearing masks for a walk in the park or when their children must wear masks in the school yard, or even worse, are not allowed out of the school building.
In China, much of the agricultural land in proximity to large cities is toxic to the growth of certain food products – grains and fruits. This is reaching crisis proportions. The Chinese government is being forced to address this issue as well. Unfortunately, we seem to do all the wrong things before we finally do the right thing.
Take care in your travels.
By the way, great dialogue with Leif.
However corporations are “people” now and as such they inherit the same fiduciary responsibilities that the rest of us have, that is to protect Planetary life support systems that humanity depends upon.
Capitalism, unrestrained by the requirements of Planetary life support systems, is guaranteed mutually assured destruction. Socially enabled capitalism is clearly a failed paradigm. Help end tax funded pollution of the commons for starters. In fact just ending tax funded pollution of the commons may be all that is needed. That would free up the current tax we the people pay to be used for social well being as well as syphoning the outrageous profits that the fossil industry currently use to buy congress , media, a Tea Party and all the rest. The original Tea Party was rebellion against taxation without representation. Today it is far worse. We have taxation promoting Planetary ecocide!
The sad truth is that even if the fossil fuels could be extracted, transported and processed without a drop of pollution in/on the dirt, air or waters, the end result will still be Planetary ecocide. It will just take a bit longer to achieve.
“War becomes perpetual when used as a rational for peace,” Norman Solomon. “Peace becomes perpetual when used as a rational for survival.” Yours truly.
I don’t disagree with your principles Leif but…
Most political paradigms have failed…name any party that has succeeded?
Communism? Represses free will, expression and individualism, keeping masses in poverty.
Socialism? Keeps the masses in continual control, with or without poverty. Over-spends on social programs ending in massive debts.
Labour or Democratic? Forgets to focus on more than bottom wage-earners. Creates conflicts – poor against rich and so on.
Liberalism ? Not focused and spend-happy bankrupting nations ( or at least putting
them at risk) Always under constant attack from other parties.
Conservatism or Republican? Forgets the people at the bottom resulting in poverty for some and ignores much of the wrongdoing in the world because it creates wealth for some.
Nationalism and other extreme right-wing groups… Always want to return to past behaviours of “superiority” over people defined as “less deserving.” Protectionist and biased toward their own limited view of the world.
I am speaking generally of course… Some parties can appear to be something beyond the basic precepts and offer “rewards” in the promises they make (and often break).
I don’t disagree with you Leif, I just don’t see the caring in the world to form a better way of governing ourselves and finding a symbiotic balance with other life. I find that most people are “just waiting to shoot you down” when offering insights on what is wrong with society.
There is only one thing that motivates people to action and that appears to be the fear of what they experience in life. Only unhappy people ‘act’ to change things that affect them negatively. The rest go on “business as usual” until something instills fear in them.
With climate change it is really simple. Only those people who have experienced drastic climate events, or cared to listen to the news media reports, or scientists, even know anything about changing climate or its underlying cause. That is a much smaller percentage of the worlds population than necessary to have a useful plan to mitigate the effects. I am guessing things are going to get a whole lot worse despite the few people making a real effort to make things better. I only have to mention the issues to my friends and family and the “rolling of eyes and deep sighs” indicate to me, that they just don’t care. It is the reality of a “selfish” society.
I would like someone to prove me wrong, someone to say… “We have an idea that the seven plus billion people on this planet will accept as the way to live in harmony with each other and all life on the planet!” I will accept it wholeheartedly. I really will. Unfortunately, most of what I hear suggested is from an old and flawed political system that has never proven any success!
All true Colette.
“One cannot do the same thing over and over and expect different results.” A. Einstein.
I do not see the problem as humanities inability to engineer remarkable endeavors. IMO the problem is the current socially enabled capitalistic paradigm tax subsidized pollution of the commons that entrenches the already miss-guided immoral power elite. Without a fundamental moral underpinning that guides capitalism to work for humanities well-being above personal rewards Planetary life support systems and humanity will be toast. In short, “Systems change, not climate change.”
Before any problem can be solved the problem must be clearly defined. The problem has been clearly observed. Green house gas clearly implicated. Why are we still on the highway to ecocide? $$$/rewards going to the wrong hands IMO. We need to Social-engineer the rapacious Capitalistic Paradigm which itself is a proven “faulty engineered” human construct. Back to the drawing boards.
I am an Atheist so this next may sound strange. Humanity is no longer “God fearing” and those that profess to be only use their “God” to justify instilling fear in others to accept their religion. Not that they fear the wrath of their “God” for doing immoral acts. Too many of us have elevated ourselves to “God” status to justify our carnage upon the Planet. Pope Frances is showing signs of awareness and I wish him the best.
“You cannot avoid the interplay of politics within an orthodox religion. This power struggle permeates the training, educating and disciplining of the orthodox community. Because of this pressure, the leaders of such community inevitably must face that ultimate internal question: to succumb to complete opportunism as a price of maintaining their rule, or risk sacrificing themselves for the sake of the orthodox ethic.”
from “Muad’Dib: The Religious Issues”
by the Princess Irulan
Dune, Frank Herbert.
“We don’t have a right to ask whether we’re going to succeed or not – the only question we have a right to ask is: What’s the right thing to do? What does this Earth require of us if we want to continue to live on it?” Wendell Berry
We’re the first generation to feel the impacts of climate disruption, and the last generation that can do something about it. It is a steep learning curve indeed and not showing much progress in my allotted time. “All you need is Love, Love is all you need.” Beetles.
Yes indeed Leif, the world certainly could use a bit of love right now. That and lots of support from caring people.
You mention that the world is no longer God fearing except under manipulation by others. Well, that might be true in the West who can see the “manipulation” for the power-hungry control mechanism that it is. However, the world is still populated with a large proportion of people who are God fearing and earnestly so. Their spiritualism is both a blessing ( it creates a sort of harmony in poor nations), and a curse ( it prevents progress). It is very difficult to suggest new thinking in such places.
We can learn some things from poor nations – tolerance, resilience, and so on. They can learn from us too, but so far we have not been good teachers and they have emulated our worst traits copying our destruction of the environment. We will have to be very successful at producing a new paradigm of earth-friendly stewardship if they continue to copy us! If not, they will destroy the environment even faster than we have.
This is an obvious shot in the dark and not fleshed out. I offer these suggestions as food for thought and brain storming.
Building small green energy systems that can be bought on time by micro-financing the third world poor helps keep the western economy afloat. This in turn infuses the first world with cash flow that does not disappear into the black hole of fossil pollution and tax free Swiss bank accounts. Along with that, designing first world products that are intended to last generations, if possible, decreases the trash flow. Practical sanitation and perma-culture as well as atmospheric water collection can also keep the first world technology busy for a long time Transforming the Military from a killing machine to a greening machine wins friends and underpins the terrorists that abject poverty and exploitation nurture.
The question then becomes how do we get there. To that end I suggest a new international “Gold Standard,” the “Green BTU Standard.” All social services are factored into the price of energy. Along with that of course is a level playing field where black BTUs are priced according to their negative planetary impact. Distributed Green Energy then becomes a cash cow in the hands of and the improvement of the poor. The more green energy the masses produce, the better the standing of the nation’s financial standing. Export Green Energy, all the better. Soon all social services are cash on the barrel head. No deficits, no taxes. No wars, the value of the BTUs go up. A healthy population, the same, as there is more GREEN energy to export in kind or value added. Build for the well being of humanity, not for the profits of the few.
It has been said that “Green Growth” is an oxymoron. I disagree. If “Growth” becomes defined as the opposite of planetary ecocide and not $$$? The opposite of destitute billions but clean water, nutritious food, justice and equality? For the nurturing and rejuvenation of threatened species and habitat? The education and acceptance of women and girls as equal and deserving members of Humanity? The transformation of “socially enabled capitalism” and Governments that have evolved into “self licking ice cream cones,” (Dr. J. Hansen), into watchdogs for a peaceful, just, harmonious cohabitation of all members of Space Ship Earth as we hurtle space and time? The lifting of the burden of necessary labor powered by exploited fossil carbon and the whip and cries of man and beast to the passive advancement of intellect, arts and love powered by the daily allotment of sunshine?
Sounds like “Growth” to me.
I like your ideas Leif, but we must be careful that selling green energy systems to the poor world is not seen as yet another form of exploitation similar to the ” land and seeds” project currently being rolled out in Afria.
I like your picture of philanthropic ventures to solve the inequality we see facing poor nations. They will not make the jump to a better world on their own!
Thank you Colette. You are right, the third world will not make the leap nor will the first world either by the looks of it. Our first world does not even need a leap but a mere step. We are so close yet en-light-enment years away. The concepts go back to Jesus and many others throughout history. As I mentioned earlier, it is not looking promising. Evolution has not been conducive to dealing with Planetary Ecocide. How can it be? I often point out to others that evolution only cares about you until successful breading age. After that we are on our own. I revert back to an earlier comment.
“Peace becomes perpetual when used as a rational for survival.” Me.
Star Trekkers Unite. Our Spaceship Earth is in peril.
Never go to sea in a boat you would not be proud to have as a coffin. Sailors adage.
And so we continue to fight for peace for violence only begets violence.
Domestic chores beckon..
Yours truly, Leif
Leif – I followed and enjoyed the great dialogue between you and Colette. Great insights and much wisdom. Thank you for participating in what i do.
I’m willing to pay a little extra to safeguard the future for my children…….sadly I recently read an article that here in the US people were polled on how much “extra” they’d pay if they knew it would benefit their children to get the US off of poison and it came out to < $100 per month…. I can't understand why the answer isn't "whatever I can afford"……and that would be up to each person based on their ability
Dave – it always comes down to “me”. How is it going to affect me? What’s in it for me? You only live once. Why should I worry about the future? And so on. How sad.
Thank you for your continued and tireless efforts, Rolly. It could not have happened without the prompting and participation of Colette. It takes two to tango. Thank you for the dance.
To both of you, Two Palms Up,
P.S. The sad truth is that even if the fossil fuels could be extracted, transported and processed without a drop of pollution on the dirt, in the air or in/on the waters, the end result will still be Planetary ecocide. Like Toastville for the Kidders. It will just take a bit longer to achieve.
Not any job, only Green Jobs can start to move the economies of the world out of the morass. As long as capitalism has the ability to profit from polluting the commons, (the very foundation of violence IMO), every “Black” job just digs the hole deeper. Only green jobs ADD VALUE to the economy and start to rejuvenate Planetary life support systems as well as the economy via distributed green energy from the renewable sector. Only GREEN JOBS bring enlightenment to the the populations of the world.
Thanks Leif for the stimulating conversation material you provide. As you point out, death by capitalism may be what awaits our civilization regardless of the energy source that supports it. Our incessant preoccupation with consumerism and perpetual economic growth and of always wanting more can only lead to disaster as the planet’s resources continue to dry up.
Great interactions and lots of valid points.
I have been feeling a bit down in the dumps over the extent of the problems facing humanity. While climate change is uncountably the biggest, and the one we should throw a lot of effort at to at least try and resolve, I wondered how we got here to this rather violent, unequitable world full of poverty, depravity, poisons, torture and death.
This might seem like “a glass half empty view” instead of its more positive mirror full of optimism, life, health and happiness. Intentionally, I choose not to stick my head in the sand and not see that we are a truly sick planet full of ecocide.
So, how did we get here? Over the years since our evolution, we moved from small groups of hominids, living much like the other great apes, in balance with our environment. We learned to manipulate our environment, and incidently, just about every living thing in it. We dominated all other living things, we made up laws in our religions to justify it. But we have fooled ourselves into believing that we have dominion over all things! This is our great undoing because our own ignorance has not allowed us to see something rather important.
All life is made of basic elements and the life force is energy. Our world is a soup of interdependent life force that we all connect through. Remove any part of life and the whole interdependent structure unravels and self-destructs.
So much has already disappeared, that the basic tennents of life itself are under enormous strain. Any physical actions will be band aids at best, but perhaps last long enough to get back to a more harmonious life in balance with other creatures.
Creatures, animals, wildlife, beasts: the names we have given to other lifeforms on this planet are seen in derogatory terms, as though we are the only intelligent life on the planet! Wrong, wrong, wrong! Just because we are not intelligent enough to communicate with the life forms on this planet, we assume that all other life is our slave, for our amusement. We torture most other life on this planet and many of our own species too. We are truly, truly cruel!
We need to look at ou basic practices in life and ask if we are beneficial to life on this planet, and symbiotic in our actions. The answer right now is NO! So the planet does not need us. We are a parasite.
Living with the knowledge of what our generation has bequeathed humanity is for sure a bummer. Many of us have for years and even decades. Caterpillars are parasites as well but then “sleep” to awaken as butterflies to pollinate the world anew. Such is our task. Hopefully there will be sufficient life support systems remaining to pollinate upon the awakening.
Albert Einstein once said: “I do not know the weapons of WW III but WW IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” I am rooting for WW III, which IMP we are currently embroiled in, will be fought with humanitarian scientific understanding, equality, justice, peace and love. WW IV with sonnets. Perhaps we can prove Einstein wrong and I am sure he would approve.
I like the “butterfly” analogy Leif! Perhaps we are at the end of our parasitic “caterpillar stage and a new “pollinator” consciousness will arise in humans. It is a critcal component for success in creating a beneficial society that considers the ecological consequences of its actions!
And here’s what Stephen Hawking has to say on man’s biggest failing!