Answers to the Canadian Taxpayers Federation Petition

Canadian Taxpayers Federation ad in my Facebook feed says:

Justin Trudeau wants to tax carbon to impact climate change.
The Problem: Canada isn’t producing enough to make an impact.
Sign The Petition!
Click “Sign Up” to sign a petition to demand Trudeau Stop the Implementation of a carbon tax.

I was curious to see what the Petition actually said, so I did click on the link.

Canadian Taxpayers Federation Petition
But instead of a petition,
screenshot-2-facebook-opera
what popped up was an attempt to harvest my personal data.

astroturf

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised after reading the recent CBC article, “Canadian Taxpayers Federation has 5 members — why should we care what they think? that busts the Canadian Taxpayers Federation as astroturf (a fake “grass roots” organization).

Even so, lots of people are going to read this and be misled.
A look at the top of the comments gave me a couple of excellent rebuttals:

Dave Urquhart writes:

Canada is home to 0.56% of the population.

If you do the math, we’re emitting at a level 3 times greater than the average of the rest of the world.

If you take into consideration that emissions stay in our atmosphere for millennia, the 1.65% number isn’t even close to what our contribution has been toward climate change. It will take a world war mobilization type effort to avert runaway climate change.

I don’t agree with a cap and trade system, and believe that the generous subsidies that we provide for the fossil fuel industry should be eliminated as well, but a price on carbon will be required to get the masses out of their emissions comfort zones. The tax amounts to 2 cents a litre in the first year and only 11 cents in the last year. We seem to have been able to handle those kinds of increases in the past without substantial hardship. You will be affected far less if you reduce your emissions, that’s what the tax is intended to do. Or is it easier to throw others (who are geographically and financially more vulnerable) under the bus? The mindset that got us into this mess, certainly won’t get us out of it. It’s time to move away from the use of fossil fuels – if we do that – there will be no burden from the tax.

Like Dave Urquhart, my preference is not for Cap and Trade.

Michael Nabert writes:

When the largest collective scientific effort in human history tells us that we clearly need to be shifting away from fossil fuels as rapidly as possible, the best the Canadian Taxpayers Federation has to offer is the equivalent of my college roommates letting the dirty dishes pile up in hopes that someone else will wash them first.

Let’s look at the numbers to see how well the “we’re such a small part of the problem that we’re not worth bothering with” argument stands up to logic. Canada is the 8th largest emitter in the world, and has contributed more to combined historical emissions than all but seven other nations. With less than half of one percent of the global population, Canada emits 1.67% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

http://www.statista.com/statistics/271748/the-largest-emitters-of-co2-in-the-world/

Canada has 0.475% of the world’s population. That means that of total current global emissions, Canada takes up 3.52 times our fair share of a number that is collectively far too large to begin with. That number is also clearly artificially low because the way it is calculated leaves out a number of glaringly obvious considerations. In any honest assessment we also bear responsibility for emissions from factories that were offshored in order to slash wages but that are still producing products exclusively for sale in North American markets, because that’s our stuff and therefore clearly our responsibility. Canada is also responsible for the emissions resulting from burning the roughly 5% of global fossil fuel exports that come from us. So we’re emitting several times more than our fair share. Any argument that Canada should not act is, by definition, irresponsible.

If we look at a more honest per capita measurement, we can see that the average Canadian is causing more than twice as much harm to the planet than the average Chinese citizen (typically the first direction fingers are pointed). China has increased the strength of its climate commitments aggressively several times in recent years. China is also well on its way to meeting or even exceeding its targets. Canada, on the other hand, not only has spectacularly weak emissions targets compared to the other industrialized nations, we are in no way even going to come close to meeting those targets. Here’s another comparison: China is investing 1% of its per capita income into renewable energy. Canada is investing 0.19% instead, making less than one fifth as much effort to move away from fossil fuel use.

Finally, there is a level of absurdity about overseas finger pointing. I don’t have the opportunity to lobby the governments of Saudi Arabia or China to change their oil policies, but even if they do the right thing and stop producing oil, our continuing to do so willy nilly would still be roasting our loved ones. Canadians do have the ability as well as the responsibility to impact emissions here at home.

http://www.statista.com/statistics/271748/the-largest-emitters-of-co2-in-the-world/

And that takes care of that.

 


Image Credits:

Canadian Taxpayers federation images used under education/criticism Fair Dealing exemption

Astroturf graphic by @laurelrusswurm is a remix of “Skagerak Arena turf” © by Rune Mathisen [bitjungle on Flickr] is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 License.

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