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Climate Change Emergency: Carbon Pricing

"The rational man finds that his share of the cost of the wastes he discharges into the commons is less than the cost of purifying his wastes before releasing them. Since this is true for everyone, we are locked into a system of 'fouling our own nest,' so long as we behave only as independent, rational, free-enterprisers.

The tragedy of the commons as a food basket is averted by private property, or something formally like it. But the air and waters surrounding us cannot readily be fenced, and so the tragedy of the commons as a cesspool must be prevented by different means, by coercive laws or taxing devices that make it cheaper for the polluter to treat his pollutants than to discharge them untreated" (1245).

Hardin, Garrett. "The Tragedy of the Commons." Science, vol. 162, no. 3859, 13 Dec. 1968, pp. 1243-1248.

"The simple path to climate success requires leader countries to pursue three strategies.

  1. Apply regulations and/or carbon pricing to decarbonize domestic electricity and transportation, and work with other leader countries to globalize this effort.
  2. Apply carbon tariffs on imports from climate-laggard countries and work with other leader countries to form climate clubs that globalize this effort.
  3. Assist poorer countries in adopting low-emission energy, especially where this meets air quality and other co-benefit objectives" (27).

Jaccard, Mark. The Citizen's Guide to Climate Success: Overcoming Myths that Hinder Progress. Cambridge UP, 2020.

"[T]he overall policy framework needed for addressing climate change is clear and has been for decades. . . . Each of the 35 billion tons of carbon dioxide emitted this year causes at least about $40 worth of damages to the planet, possibly much more. The correct—the only correct—approach is to price each and every ton of carbon according to the damage it causes" (23).

Wagner, Gernot, and Martin L. Weitzman. Climate Shock: The Economic Consequences of a Hotter Planet. Princeton UP, 2015.

"The reality is that significant emissions reductions will happen only if we rapidly switch to zero- and partially-zero-emissions technologies. Fortunately, these are now commercially available. But they won’t be widely adopted unless technologies that burn coal, oil and natural gas are phased out by regulations or made costly to operate by carbon pricing. . . . While carbon pricing has become a mantra for economists, environmentalists, academics, celebrities, media pundits and even corporate heads, none of these people needs to get reelected. For politicians with survival instincts, it’s a different game. . . . Instead, [they] will do what serious jurisdictions do: regulate."

Jaccard, Mark. “Want an Effective Climate Policy? Heed the Evidence.” Policy Options Politiques, 2 Feb. 2016.

"PBO estimates that an additional carbon price rising from $6 per tonne in 2023 to $52 per tonne in 2030 would be required to achieve Canada’s GHG emissions target under the Paris Agreement. This charge would be in addition to the $50 per tonne federal fuel charge that is scheduled to be in place in 2022. Combined with the $50 per tonne federal fuel charge, households could face an explicit carbon price of $102 per tonne in 2030" (2).

"For perspective, a $102 per tonne carbon price would represent a cost of 23 cents for a litre of gasoline" (12).

Closing the Gap: Carbon Pricing for the Paris Target. Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, 20 June 2019.

"Carbon pricing, while sensible and useful, will not on its own get us where we need to go, and the focus on the topic has distracted us from the scale of action needed" (67).

"[C]arbon pricing is tinkering with a monumental problem that requires direct and concerted action, through governments, to control the behaviour of corporations in the production and use of carbon. Instead, we are fighting to rely on small, incremental increases in carbon prices to direct individual behaviour, with the hope that these collective actions will trickle up to ultimately influence the behaviour of corporations" (177).

"If our climate policies and actions are not making [the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers] and its members deeply anxious and upset, at this late hour, then they are not policies worth having" (52).

Klein, Seth. A Good War: Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency. ECW P, 2020.

"To help reduce B.C.'s greenhouse gas emissions by one-third by 2020, Balanced Budget 2008 includes a revenue-neutral carbon tax" (1).

Greener Future, Stronger Economy. British Columbia Ministry of Finance, 19 Feb. 2008.

"In 2018, B.C.'s gross GHG emissions were 67.9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (Mt CO2e). This represents an increase of 4.5 Mt CO2e (7%) from 2007 levels, and 2.2 Mt CO2e (3%) from 2017 emissions" (11).

2020 Climate Change Accountability Report. cleanBC, 2020.