2008 Aug 20: The Price of Carbon

Wednesday, 2008 August 20, 7 pm
Ralph Thornton Centre

765 Queen St East (east of Broadview)
Free

Just Earth invites you to a community forum examining the link between climate change and the cost of fossil fuels.

Featured speakers:

  • Peter Victor, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University, presenting Carbon Taxes First
  • Adriana Mugnatto-Hamu, environmentalist, presenting Paying the Price for Carbon
  • Peter Tabuns, MPP, Toronto-Danforth [also, as it turns out, Andrew Lang and Sharon Howarth in the audience and discussion – ed]

Moderator: Lynn McDonald, former MP; founder, Just Earth

  • What changes do we need to make to fight global warming?
  • What role can a carbon tax play?
  • How can we take our concerns to the politicians?

For more information, contact info@justearth.net

2 responses to “The Price of Carbon”

  1. Charlie Halpern-Hamu writes:

    Here’s the letter Adriana received today from Jack Layton’s office clarifying the NDP plan:

    Dear Adriana,
     
    It is good to hear from you and we appreciate your email seeking clarification on our cap and trade proposal.
     
    Transferable Discharge Permit (TDP) systems, such as our cap and trade proposal for carbon emissions, are flexible and can be designed so that permits are either given away for free (grandfathered) such as with the initial EU ETS or auctioned off in the highly successful sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions trading program here in North America. We have studied this issue very carefully and learned important lessons from existing examples, which means we can make our cap-and-trade proposal as effective as possible.
     
    We feel the best design includes a “hard” or absolute cap on emissions in addition to a government auction used to distribute credits. We would phase-in a full auction of carbon credits. From there, emitters are free to buy and sell credits through a carbon market. The carbon market would never replace the auction; they are two different parts of any cap and trade system. Credits are initially distributed followed by credit trading. Government would receive revenue primarily through the auctioning of credits, while companies that reduce their emissions most effectively can recoup money through the trading of credits on the carbon market. In fact, one of the primary benefits of cap-and-trade is the impetus it gives companies to reduce their pollution through innovation, helping to build an economy that is stronger, more sustainable and makes Canadian companies better able to compete internationally.
     
    In our design, the resulting revenue generated by the government will be used exclusively for investment in green solutions.
     
    Given the strong consensus that urgent action is needed to reduce emissions in order to avoid catastrophic effects from global warming, government policy must not only address pricing carbon, but must also include a complete program of complimentary policies aimed at reducing pollution, addressing things like investing in transit, home retrofits, renewable energy, incentives for individuals and a variety of other initiatives.
     
    Again, thank you for your email. These are crucially important questions and we welcome this debate about the best ways to reduce pollution. The NDP was the first party to raise the issue of global warming in the House of Commons and we will continue to make it a priority that these issues are debated. In fact, Jack’s PMB C-377 was recently passed by the House of Commons which made Canada the first country in the world to put post-2012 “Kyoto-plus” targets into law.
     
    We recommend that you review the wealth of literature on how SO2 emissions have successfully and cost-effectively been reduced via a cap and trade system featuring a government auction for permits. And here is an example of what others have said about this sound approach:
     
    “Those who argue that cap-and-trade won’t work are ignoring history. We used a cap-and-trade to lower the sulphur oxide emissions that lead to acid rain, and we were able to do it quickly and cheaply.” Bill Chameides, Chief Scientist at Environmental Defence, http://grist.org/article/cap-and-trade-more-effective-than-a-carbon-tax/
     
    At the end of the day, we must remember that the goal isn’t just about pricing carbon, putting a price on carbon is just a means to an end. Above all else, we must remain focused and committed to reducing carbon emissions and meeting our international commitments.
     
    Due to foot-dragging, and worse, by successive federal governments, we feel that Canada has fallen down on its international responsibilities to fight global warming and must take effective action as quickly as possible to place an absolute cap on carbon emissions.
     
    Adriana, we hope our reply has been helpful to your work. Good luck with the panel!
     
    All the best,
     
    Correspondence unit of Jack Layton, MP (Toronto-Danforth)
    Leader, Canada’s New Democrats

  2. ralph adams writes:

    hi,sorry i missed the price of carbon forum…after reading the above letter from mr layton i feel that there is some misunderstanding as to the best method for reducing carbon. at a previous meeting i attended on carbon, a Uof T professor Mrs Spence compared the 2 systems for reducing greenhouse gases (CO2 mainly) with graphics and slides.her conclusion after nearly one year of similar public forums was that the cap and trade system was too unweildly and was specifically meant for sulpher dioxide reduction with which it was successful.also she pointed out that it was complicated,took longer to implement,and easily subject to fraud and also was unproven for CO2 reduction. . . .on the other hand the carbon tax idea could be in use right away with few bureaucratic obstacles. . .so if that is the case,then canada should abandon the cap and trade and adopt the carbon tax . . ..with one proviso . . .that it should be properly explained to the canadian people prior to the next election.

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