Saturday, May 10, 2008

Carbon Tax Will Starve Children

That's the long and short of it folks. The purpose of any sin tax be it on alcohol, tobacco or carbon is to reduce the negative behaviour. A carbon tax will not reduce the negative behaviour because much of the behaviour is not voluntary. Any behaviour it does change will either negatively effect the environment, negatively effect Canada or both. The largest polluter targeted by this tax would be the oil industry. The explicit purpose of this tax, read the white paper folks, is to meet our Kyoto targets. Oil production in Canada has increased by around 50% since 1990. Natural gas production in Canada, largely as a result of the oil sands boom, has increased by around 100% since 1990. If you want to meet Kyoto targets, you better have one heck of oil sands strategy. Now, all us good environmentalists want to stop the smoggies in the oil sands. Problem is, all that goop does more than fuel SUV's. Oil sands oil production is, believe it or not, keeping the price of a barrel of oil down. If you were to reduce production in the oil sands, the cost would go up. If you put a tax on every barrel even if its only a $1.17 US per barrel (as is outlined in the white paper), the cost of every oil based product in Canada goes up. It is folly to think that this tax will be internalize by the polluters. The polluters won't pay; the consumers will. Not necessarily a problem on the gas for an SUV, a huge problem on a loaf of bread. We do not as progressives in this country believe in taxing the necessities of life. No problem justifies taking food out of the hands of children. This tax has that potential. Even if we find some means of alleviating the pain at home, we will not prevent the global ramifications of this action. An increase, or just the perception of an increase in the cost of Canadian oil, will send the already jittery oil markets into a frenzy. The cost will go up, world wide. And the oil to fertilizers and pesticides to grain to bread equation will happen not only in Canada but around the world. This is the equation which has the World Food Programme in full panic mode. I cannot as a progressive support a tax which will make this problem worse. A carbon tax, no matter how revenue neutral, does.


Scott Tribe said...

Kind of early to be attacking the plan when we don't even have specifics of it yet, Aaron.

Starving the children with a carbon tax? You're using as bad of hyperbole as any Blogging Tory I've seen - perhaps worse.

Who was your candidate of choice in 2006 at the Convention out of curiosity? Because if it was Iggy, he proposed a carbon tax as part of his platform back then.

Aaron Ginsberg said...

Kennedy FYI. I disagree with the party on this issue. I'm comfortable with that, it's not my top issue. I know you think I'm out on the right fringe, but if you read this post, this is a left wing critique.

Kai Wolf said...

Kind of early to be attacking the plan when we don't even have specifics of it yet, Aaron.

Kind of early to be singing its praises for the same reason, Scott.

Anonymous said...

How can anyone pass judgment when they don't know the whole plan or facts - kinda stupid isn't it?

Anonymous said...

The respondents are is difficult to judge a proposal without details. That's one of the things that makes me very nervous about this whole scheme. Where's the beef? Will we get a reasonably detailed description as to how this plan would operate or will it be some 'hidden agenda' plot at another tax grab. The Liberals had better come up with a plan and get it out to the public soon. This parliament has run its course and Mr. Dion had better be prepared to start giving out some details because the rising costs of energy may make any plan to reduce the consumption of that energy a moot point. Vague assurances that this proposal will achieve its intended goals won't cut it.

Aaron Ginsberg said...

Umm... am I the only one who has read the Liberal white paper on this? The one prominently linked to on the party's website? If he changes course, great. Otherwise, I assume the plan will look pretty much like the carbon budget described in the white paper.

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