A group of top climate and environmental scientists from across Canada have released a letter stating that "climate change is the defining issue of our time" and urging voters to "vote strategically for the environment" in Tuesday's election. That means vote for a party advocating a price on carbon. [Update: the Pembina Institute has a great analysis of the parties' carbon pricing policies]
It is a strong, clear statement. I can add only one thing: A vote for carbon pricing and action on climate change is not just a vote for the environment. It is a vote for the economy of the future.
And it is not just scientists. A group of top Canadian economists have released a very similar letter. The economists agreed on key principles:
- Canada needs to act on climate change now.
- Any substantive action will involve economic costs.
- These economic impacts cannot be an excuse for inaction.
- Pricing carbon is the best approach from an economic perspective.
- Pricing allows each business and family to choose the response that is best and most efficient for them.
- Pricing induces innovation.
- Carbon is almost certainly under-priced right now.
- Regulation is the most expensive way to meet a given climate change goal.
- A carbon tax has the advantage of providing certainty in the price of carbon.
- A cap and trade system provides certainty on the quantity of carbon emitted, but not on the price of carbon and can be a highly complex policy to implement.
- Although carbon taxes have the most obvious effects on consumers, all carbon reduction policies increase the prices individuals face.
- Price mechanisms can be regressive and our policy should address this.
- A pricing mechanism can allow other taxes to be reduced and provide an opportunity to improve the tax system.