Carbon taxes: Effective and fair to fight climate change


By Lindsay Advocate

If they successfully reduce emissions, carbon charges also generate significant domestic environmental benefits, such as reductions in the number of people dying prematurely from exposure to local air pollution, writes Frank Morris.

By Frank Morris, former sailor, retired banker, and still learning how to get things done.

The Carbon Tax is a fair and effective measure to educate the public about the impact fossil fuels have on climate change and to reduce our dependency on them. Fuels used in passenger and freight vehicles contribute about 18 per cent of global CO2 emissions.

Without major and urgent efforts to slow accumulation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, future generations will inherit a much warmer planet with risks of dangerous climate events, higher sea levels, and destruction of the natural world. In Canada, we are already seeing some of the effects of climate change in apocalyptic scenes of wildfires in the West and the East.

The principal reason for adopting carbon taxes is that they are an effective tool for meeting domestic emission mitigation commitments. Because these taxes increase the prices for fossil fuels, electricity, and general consumer products and lower prices for fuel producers, they promote switching to lower-carbon fuels in power generation, conserving on energy use, and shifting to cleaner vehicles.

If they successfully reduce emissions, carbon charges also generate significant domestic environmental benefits, such as reductions in the number of people dying prematurely from exposure to local air pollution.

They are also easy to collect right at the gas pump. And here in Canada, our out-of-pocket expense is reduced because what you pay at the pump is redistributed to citizens quarterly. Some groups, like farmers and fishers, are exempt from carbon taxes entirely.

Are carbon charges effective? The people who should know agree they are. In 2019, more than 3,600 economists signed a letter published in the Wall Street Journal in support of carbon taxes as the “most cost-effective lever to reduce carbon emissions at the scale and speed necessary.”

Nearly every Republican and Democratic chair of the Council of Economic Advisers since the 1970s signed the letter, including Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke and Janet L. Yellen, who are also former chairs of the Federal Reserve. Numerous Nobel laureates in economics also added their names. “Among economists, this is not controversial,” said Greg Mankiw, who chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush and signed the letter. “The politics is complicated, the international relations complicated, but the economics is really simple.”

Canada cannot and must not count on other countries to fight our fight of climate change and all its consequences to our agricultural, mining, and forestry businesses. We must be self-reliant in this fight and develop our own solutions to our climate change problems, such as taxing the carbon we emit to gradually wean ourselves off it. It’s only fair that those who contribute to the problem should also contribute to its solution.

Ultimately, we can create an economy that is free of foreign oil interests. We can become a nation that uses the relatively free resources of nature to mold a truly free and prosperous economy. It’s in everyone’s interests that we reduce our use of fossil fuels. Admittedly, paying a carbon tax is uncomfortable in the short term but remember it is returned to you every quarter. Not to mention you know you are doing the right thing for yourself, your children, and your neighbours.


  1. Kevin says:

    All well and great, however the fact of the matter still remains that even if Canada turned Net Zero today, we would affect carbon reduction on a global scale by less than 1%. Furthermore, climate change policies in Canada are being driven for political posturing and at a pace that far exceeds the ability to adapt. One simple example is solar. Solar can and will be a great technology in the future but in today’s world, is inefficient, costly, and requires a tremendous amount of heavy industrial mining to produce the raw materials. Combined with the fact that China is the leading producer of photovoltaic cells, in large part produced in manufacturing plants powered by coal, and quickly the the “green initiative” of utilizing solar power becomes a greater detriment to the carbon emission reduction argument. Yet somehow magically a carbon tax placed on goods is somehow supposed to reduce carbon and greenhouse gas emissions and better the world. If all nations aren’t working collectively to the common goal, and our reliance on importing goods from nations that contribute the heaviest to greenhouse gas emissions reduced, then applying a carbon tax on Canadians is wrong. It only hurts industries and unfairly places a financial burden on the backs of its population.

  2. Wallace says:

    If every human ,in Canada , disappeared today, it wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever in the global carbon output. If you love sending your money to Trudeau so much, you can voluntarily send a cheque in to CRA whenever you want. (Ukraine will thank you.) At income tax return time, if there was a form Canadians could fill out to VOLUNTARILY pay extra money to the government to ‘fight climate change’ , not one person would do it. The reason ? We all know its absurd to send the most financially irresponsible people on earth, even more of our money. Instead of giving more money to the feds, junk your boat , snow mobile, atv, and stop going on airplanes. Talk the talk.

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