In calling a carbon tax a “vote-buying subsidy” (letter to the editor, by Jeffrey Reyonds - Sept 7, Journal Pioneer, “Carbon Tax Wrong for P.E.I.”) we must consider the facts of the matter, and not just opinion. No one likes a new tax, myself included, and for this reason political parties of many stripes in many countries are trying to score political points by opposing a carbon tax. It is a much tougher stance to recognize that we need to put some kind of price on carbon to incentivize reductions in GHG emissions.
Mr. Reynolds’ statement that a carbon tax will not result in reduction in carbon emissions has already been proven false. To use his example of Australia, which imposed a carbon tax of 23 AUD per tonne on July 1, 2012, a study by the Australian National University estimated that the tax reduced carbon emissions in Australia for 2013 by 17 million tonnes, the country’s largest reduction in 23 years. The Abbott Government did repeal the tax in 2014, again for reasons of political expediency, and its current Emission Reduction Fund is expected to only meet one third of emissions reductions required by 2020.
As to Mr. Reynolds’ question why Canada, with 1.53 per cent (actually 1.63%) of global emissions needs a carbon tax, Canada has one of the highest energy consumption rates per capita in the world, behind only a few Middle Eastern oil producing nations, and Iceland, which is luckily sitting on almost unlimited stores of geothermal energy. In addition, fuel derived from the Alberta oil sands requires 20 per cent more carbon input than conventional crude according to a study prepared for the EU, refuting Mr. Jeffries assertion that we have the most energy efficient oil industry in the world. Also, the energy returned on energy invested for oil sands extraction at 4:1 is approx. four times less than that for conventional oil at 16:1
I do agree with Mr. Reynolds that a real discussion needs to be had about climate change and measures that can have a real impact on reducing its effects. Wasting years of time and millions of dollars by fighting a losing battle with the federal government in court as proposed by Doug Ford, Scott Moe, and James Aylward is not the way to do it. Investing the time and research necessary to develop a carbon tax system that is fair to all members of society while still reducing emissions is hard work, and I applaud the Green Party of P.E.I. for having the ambition and political courage to do so.