THE BLOG

I Want My Carbon Cheque

09/18/2014 05:49 EDT | Updated 06/16/2017 00:58 EDT

I want the government to send me my carbon cheque. And I think most people want theirs too.

You don't need to be a climate scientist to know that extreme weather events are threatening your quality of life and costing you money. Your flooded basement and home insurance bill are all you need.

Insurance claims for extreme weather events cost Canadians over $3.2 billion in 2013. The economic impact of climate change in Canada is estimated to be over $5 billion by 2020, $43 billion by 2050 and $221 billion by 2075. That is serious coin.

Inaction will only make these costs go up. Dragging our feet on putting a price on carbon pollution is no longer an option.

Making polluters pay their fair share by putting a price on carbon with a carbon fee and dividend policy is a fair, effective and progressive way to reduce greenhouse gas pollution.

Some critics will dismiss this as a carbon tax grab. I call bull spit.

A carbon fee and dividend policy would place the revenue in a dedicated account and return the money directly to people via a carbon cheque. A carbon cheque will reward people for their individual and collective efforts to reduce our carbon footprint.

The less you pollute, the more you earn. The more you pollute, the more you pay.

That's fair and it's progressive. In general, wealthy people who consume lots of carbon will pay more. Lower income earners who consume less will earn more from the system. Makes sense to me.

The system will also reward innovative companies that create jobs and prosperity while reducing their carbon footprint. It's the perfect prescription to generate jobs and economic growth while preventing the costs and calamity caused by carbon pollution.

Ontario has a new Ministry of Environment and Climate Change. It's time to turn the political rhetoric of that new name into real action on climate change. Implementing a carbon fee and dividend policy, as outlined by the Citizens Climate Lobby, would make Ontario a global leader in the fight against climate change.

This is the kind of leadership the world needs on the eve of the United Nations summit on climate change next week. And I really want my carbon cheque!

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