We need a bigger and better carbon pricing system

Carbon buster Peter Nix would like to quit activism and lobby politicians to increase the price of fossil fuels instead.

As a climate change activist, I am tired of stapling posters, illegally, onto Duncan telephone poles — sorry about that Mayor Kent.

But really, activism was never my plan. My life’s journey from oil sands consultant to carbon buster activist happened only due to the failure of governments to deal with global warming.

It’s been a tough — climate change activists like me are often portrayed by the deniers and the indifferent as being too negative and … well, too activist.

Last week, the United Nations warned, again, of disastrous impacts to our society and our kid’s future if we fail to reduce carbon emissions. So we need action. But if you don’t like protests, help prevent climate change by lobbying politicians for a carbon tax or fee from your home: by phone, by letter, or e-mail — or you meet with them.

A famous American, Oliver Wendell Holmes, said, “I like taxes … with them, I buy a civilization.”

At this time in history, we urgently need to increase the price of fossil fuels to buy our kids a stable climate and sustainable civilization. And carbon taxes don’t have to cost you a lot of money — a carbon fee and dividend system returns the money back to you.

The Citizens Climate Lobby will explain this, and will help you lobby — check out their booth during Earth Day in Duncan April 26 at Charles Hoey Park, or visit their website.

Carbon fees are not radical ideas. The B.C. government charges municipalities $30 a tonne for carbon emissions — a local carbon tax. North Cowichan has a surcharge of 0.5 per cent on property tax for its “green” revolving loan fund. And the City of Duncan buys carbon credits. So thanks Mayor Kent and Lefebure, and our municipal councils.

But we need bigger and better carbon pricing systems provincially and federally — like cigarette taxes. Bigger … because climate change costs will exceed $30 a tonne, a storm in New York costs over $50 billion. Better … for example, to phase out the planned export of fossil fuels that will dump 10 times the amount of carbon gases into our atmosphere as local emissions.

Peter Fiekowsky, an economist with Citizens Climate Lobby, says that “after five to eight years of phased-in carbon tax increases, oil sands will stop being economic to mine.” So let’s lobby against big fossil fuel corporations, like Enbridge, who want to burn more carbon into our air for short-term profit.

Increased fossil fuel prices will accelerate the market for renewable energy and create local jobs — instead of sending our money to Calgary or Houston. B.C.’s clean technology sector grew by 48 per cent in just two years after the province introduced its carbon tax.

Higher prices for fossil fuels will decrease our carbon emissions, the climate will stabilize with fewer catastrophic storms, and I will not need to blockade oil pipelines or coal trains.

Help me start a lobby group; contact cowichancarbonbusters@shaw.ca.

Here we come Mayors Kent and Lefebure, MLAs, MPs and maybe even Steven Harper — wow, what a concept.

Put climate change activists like me out of business, please.

Peter Nix

Cowichan Carbon Buster

Maple Bay