This post is a reproduction of Citizens’ Climate Lobby’s Media Packet in response to the recent Pope Francis encyclical “On Care For Our Common Home”. (Rolly Montpellier ~Editor for BoomerWarrior.Org).
Listen to Pope Francis
Inspired by Pope Francis’ challenge to care for creation and protect the poor, Conservatives, New Democrats, Liberals and Greens should come together on legislation that provides a market-based solution to global warming: Place a fee on carbon and give the revenue back to households.
With the release of his much-anticipated encyclical, “Laudato si” (Praised Be), Pope Francis has raised the stakes on climate change, reframing the issue as a moral imperative for which all, especially wealthy nations, are responsible.
The Pope is telling the world that we are called upon to be good stewards of God’s creation and turn away from behavior that alters the Earth’s climate and puts the world’s poor and most vulnerable at risk.
RELIGION AND SCIENCE COME TOGETHER
“Humanity is called to take note of the need for changes in lifestyle and changes in methods of production and consumption to combat this warming, or at least the human causes that produce and accentuate it,” he wrote in the draft. “Numerous scientific studies indicate that the greater part of the global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases … given off above all because of human activity…”
THE EARTH AS AN ABUSED MOTHER
At the start of the draft essay, the pope wrote, the Earth “is protesting for the wrong that we are doing to her, because of the irresponsible use and abuse of the goods that God has placed on her. We have grown up thinking that we were her owners and dominators, authorized to loot her. The violence that exists in the human heart, wounded by sin, is also manifest in the symptoms of illness that we see in the Earth, the water, the air and in living things.”
TO EVERYONE REGARDING OUR COMMON HOME
He immediately makes clear, moreover, that unlike previous encyclicals, this one is directed to everyone, regardless of religion. “Faced with the global deterioration of the environment, I want to address every person who inhabits this planet,” the pope wrote. “In this encyclical, I especially propose to enter into discussion with everyone regarding our common home.”
REGARDING CARBON CREDITS
“The strategy of buying and selling “carbon credits” can lead to a new form of speculation which would not help reduce the emission of polluting gases worldwide. This system seems to provide a quick and easy solution under the guise of a certain commitment to the environment, but in no way does it allow for the radical change which present circumstances require. Rather, it may simply become a ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors.” (Chapter 5, Clause 171, Laudato si).
As momentum moves toward a global climate agreement in Paris at the end of the year, Francis’ message is timed to pressure world leaders to make the strongest commitments for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. To that end, the Pontiff will speak before the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 25 and to a joint session of the U.S. Congress on September 24.
To stave off the worst impacts of climate change, we have to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels faster than what was agreed on at the recent G7 meetings in Bavaria – “by the end of the century”. What is needed is real commitments, substantial targets, workable plans and above all, action, something the G7 did not do because of two holdouts: Canada and Japan.
In May 2015, Canada introduced its Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) for reducing domestic GHG emissions in the lead up to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change in Paris. Canada’s newly announced INDC targets are weaker than our Copenhagen Targets and the USA’s targets. Details on how to reduce our domestic GHGs were absent from this document.
Given that we must also protect the poor and most vulnerable while solving the climate crisis, any solution needs to ensure that fees on carbon are returned to the citizen and/or any tax imposed is not traded on the market (Clause 171, Laudato si).
On October 19, 2015, Canadians will go to the polls and elect a new Parliament. The climate crisis is a non-partisan issue. Inspired by Pope Francis’ challenge to care for creation and protect the poor, Conservatives, New Democrats, Liberals and Greens should come together on legislation that provides a market-based solution to global warming: place a fee on carbon and give the revenue back to households.
It is possible for Canada to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while not burdening the poor or middle class. Citizens’ Climate Lobby supports the approach favoured by world leading scientists and economists: place a rising fee on carbon and return the revenue to households. Such legislation would:
- Place a fee on carbon-based fuels upstream, at the first point of extraction and import.
- Increase the fee at a pace that motivates the emissions reductions necessary to avoid dangerous consequences. We recommend starting the fee at $15/carbon ton and increasing it by $10/year.
- Protect low and middle-income households from increased energy costs associated with the rising fee on carbon by giving 100% of the revenue back to households.
- Protect Canadian businesses with border adjustment tariffs that also encourage other nations to adopt equivalent carbon pricing mechanisms.
Evidence that putting a fee on carbon pollution would work:
- In June 2014, a study conducted by Regional Economic Models Inc (REMI) examined the impact of carbon fee and dividend in the USA. The REMI study found that recycling the revenue back into the economy over a period of 10 years would add 2.1 million jobs, save 13,000 lives a year and GHG emissions would decline by 33%.
- Five years on, British Columbia’s (BC) revenue neutral carbon tax has been successful in reducing GHGs and reducing personal income tax for British Columbians while at the same time BC’s GDP has grown above the national average.
- In April 2015, Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission released a report that analyzed where Canada would be in 2020 if regulation or carbon pricing were used to manage carbon pollution. The carbon pricing model they used was revenue neutral. Canada’s gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020 would be 3.7% better under carbon pricing than under a regulatory approach.
Rolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Reality leader, a blogger and a 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, County Weekly 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.
It is always a good idea for people to keep as open a mind as possible in order to establish a position. Most people who blame climate change on humans are not experts on either the climate, itself, or ancillary subject areas, such as meteorology, physics or geology. Many of those people are politicians who impose costs on the public that may be unnecessary. Those people, and those whose votes they are seeking, should be exposed to both sides of the argument, then make an informed opinion. For that purpose I wish to advise readers of a link to a presentation by French professor, Dr. François Gervais, at the Schiller Institute International Conference in June of this year. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xLNCPTb15Xs&feature=youtu.been
Oh Joe, you are a hopeless case of human-caused climate denial. I’m sorry but these links you send are accounts from people in the minority…
Generally, scientists are warning of unthinkable temperature rises if we don’t do something to slow the increasing temperatures.
We (here in Britain) have just had the hottest July 1st since 1976…maybe an anomally, but in the summer of 1976 it was about the time Scientists warned us of Ozone depletion. We took action then, and cut CFC’s in air conditioning, in household sprays (propellants), and other products. The Ozone depletion slowed immediately, and now (almost 30 years later), we have seen a slight increase (repair) in the Ozone coverage that protects us from the sun’s most harmful rays.
I cannot understand your reluctance to make the world a better place through the elimination of burning fossil fuels. It will take time to develop the right technologies, but to deny that they are needed now is just irresponsible, regardless of the credentials of people in the pockets of industry.
I haven’t looked at your link yet Joe ( my connection is slow), but I can’t imagine it will change my mind. I will look though- I’m always interested in what people have to say.
Ok – just watched Prof. François Gervais – (Schiller Institute) at your link Joe.
I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy his arguments against Human caused climate warming. He put up his own climate observations, refuting accepted climate models as inaccurate at best, indicating that there had been no warming for 20 years and that arctic ice had been increasing since 2012. He indicates that women in France were wearing summer dresses one day and woolly pullovers the next from the cold spell that hit. He tossed out a handful of his own charts and generally indicated that actually, plant growth was better due to the (small) increase in CO2. And he accused 97% of scientists and the IPCC of cherry picking the data. I found his presentation rather inconclusive and offensive really.
I looked up the Schiller Institute and it seems that it is dedicated to developing the world further with the BRIC Nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China)… all of whom are growing rapidly. On first glance, it seems as though the Schiller Institute is blaming the IPCC and geopolitical forces for creating wars, imbalance, and destruction in the world for its own political ends, while the Schiller Institute promotes a new world based on development of resources such as those currently pursued by the BRIC economies.
Now, looking at the Schiller Institute goals, one could be forgiven for seeing it as a ‘Utopian’ vision of the future. However, I see the goals as nothing less than those of “Hitler,” of “Genghis Khan,” of “Queen Vicoria” even. Most of history’s great leaders had Utopian visions of the world based on eliminating anything that got in their way of giving a “perfect life” to their peoples. No one is perfect and wars will likely continue when people disagree on anything (hence why the BRIC countries are not known for “Freedom of Speech.”). The Schiller Institute vision is doomed to failure, or worse, will contribute to a further obliteration of the earth’s environment.
One thing is for sure… the world will continue, but I think we humans are on a self-destructive path and we may not be on the earth in future centuries if we don’t think about how to keep the world in balance. Greed and exploitation without sustainablilty is a flawed and deeply troubling model for the future.