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Canadians Propose 'Elegant Solution' for Country's Runaway Emissions


Canadians Propose 'Elegant Solution' for Country's Runaway Emissions

Nadia Prupis, staff writer

The Canadian chapter of the Citizens' Climate Lobby (CCL Canada) on Monday launched a petition calling for the government to implement a carbon tax known as the fee-and-dividend, a measure environmental advocates say would help the country meet its climate promises without burdening citizens with the costs.


An elegant solution IF one wanted to stop using fossil fuels. A big IF in a country like the USA where in sun drenched Nevada they curbed solar energy use instead of curbing fossil fuel use. When solar energy was becoming too successful, Nevada passed a law that caused the booming solar energy industry to collapse by rolling back net metering which was helping to pay for homeowners to install solar in a big way.

This is an elegant solution for those who want a solution! However that is in Canada while here in the USA we evidently don't want a solution.


Now Nevada wants to make sure Sanders doesn't become president and upset their fossil apple cart.

Prior to the 2008 crash Senators Cantwell (D-WA) and Collins (R-ME) initiated legislation (similar to this Canadian attempt} called cap and dividend. The Senate made sure it landed were the sun doesn't shine, post haste. Washington State's initiative 732 that will be on the ballot soon will also be similar.


Don't you think the operative measure is per-capita CO2 emissions? By that measure, Canadians have carbon footprints at least as high as USAns. And I don't think Canada is net negative. A forest that has a steady-state level of biomass (i.e. tree death plus logging = new growth) does not net-absorb CO2. Only new and expanding forests absorb CO2. and it takes a hell of a lot or new forest to absorb the CO2 emission of even a handful of cars. Of course, the reality is that Canadian forests are dying back in many places - especially in the west - from pine bark beetles, and so are a net CO2 emitter. And we are not even talking about all the thawing permafrost further north in Nunavut yet.


A possible problem with 'fee and dividend" is that most consumers may simply use the dividend it to cover higher fuel costs - maybe buy an even bigger SUV with it - that is almost certainly what prime time and sporting event TV advertisements will brainwash the average consumer to do. They are not going to reduce fuel usage and spend the dividend on greener alternatives - at least not until prime-time TV ads for home solar power systems and public transit become more numerous than car/pickup truck ads. In my area, I've never even ever seen an ad for a Prius not to mention a Nisan LEAF or the like.

"Fee and dividend" is one more example of misguided "market-based" solutions that conflates atomistic individual free-market consumption decisions with democratic community decision-making and organized concerted actions.


Cantwell and Collins bill still created a new energy market, so although better than cap and trade, I'm glad it failed. The fee and dividend plan really is the most elegant solution because all countries have some sort of taxation system in place creating an ease of implementation, and it places the onus on those with the largest carbon footprints (corporations and the wealthy), while providing relief to those with the smallest footprints (the poor).

Check out the Carbon Tax Center. This site provides loads of details and information about the ins and outs of fee and dividend.


A correction - China is not "quite a bot smaller" than Canada - China is bit larger at 9.326m sq km for China versus 9.093 sq km for Canada. You're letting the Mercator projection fool you, plus a lot of Canada's "land area" is water - big lakes and the Hudson Bay).

But yes, China has just 6818 m^2 per person versus 253,000 m^2 per person.

I suggest the per-capita measure because we are ultimately a world of people, not a world of states. CO2 wafts around the world without respect for boundaries.