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Catastrophic Climate Change: We Caused It; We're Going to Have to Fix It.


If you raise the price of something, demand for it will go down

Understand, Support and Benefit from a Feebate for GHG Emissions

Detractors tend to call this the 'carbon tax'. Why not? It's 2 pieces of disinformation in 2 words.

First, it's not a tax. A tax is when the government takes your money and spends it on something you probably weren't prepared to pay for yourself (like a 20% increase in housing allowances for Ontario MPPs). Something where you get no return. The GHG Feebate (in most incarnations) is designed to be 'revenue neutral' for the government collecting the fees, which means it gives the same amount of money back to consumers - in total - as was collected. So, how can it entice you to reduce your GHG emissions if you just get the money back? Because, you can CHOOSE to buy less expensive options (with lower GHG emissions embedded) to improve your standard of living than the thing which is now MORE EXPENSIVE because of GHG fee. (Sorry for the all caps, but this sort of free-market behaviour seems difficult for Conservatives to understand.)

For example, if you heat your house and hot water with heating oil, and the price of the heating oil goes up by 10% (say by year 3) due to the GHG fee (say from $3000 a year to $3300), you might choose to upgrade your weather-sealing, add insulation, or add some solar heating capability to your house to reduce the amount of heating oil you use, possibly by about $1000 a year. And if you're getting an annual GHG rebate of about $1000 a year (by year 3), added to the savings (increasing each year with the fuel price), you can afford to have that work done one-time, and pocket the rising annual rebate for the rest of your life. Of course, if you would rather continue supporting foreign oil companies and let your neighbours take the annual savings, that is entirely YOUR CHOICE.

Let's take another example. If you contribute to a government pension plan, is that a tax? No, because you will get money back from the pension program at a later date. That's the definition of an investment, not a tax. Similarly, the greenhouse gas emissions fee is an investment in maintaining a planet your descendants can live on, and you will be getting money back each year.

It reminds me of beer bottle and can deposit fees. When somebody buys a container of beer, they pay a small amount of money to encourage the return of the bottle or can so it doesn't just become litter and pollution (the 'polluter pays' principle). You get the rebate when you take the can or bottle back. One summer I worked doing grounds maintenance at a recreation facility where many of the patrons smuggled in beer and dropped their empties under the bleachers on show nights. Their choice was to give up the return rebate for their convenience. It was my choice to show up early for work the next day, collect all the empties and put them in my car. On my way home, I would return the empties. Generally, I made more money from returning the bottles and cans than I made in a day of work. That's like a 20% pay bonus - each week - untaxed. That's how a feebate works. If your neighbours don't want the money as a matter of their convenience, you can choose to collect their share.

Second, it's not about carbon. It's about greenhouse gases. Like methane, nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide. Carbon is not a greenhouse gas; it's not a gas at all. If your objective is confusion and disinformation "carbon tax" is a win-win, because both terms are misleading, and pretending it's a tax instead of a feebate program creates confusion.

The GHG Feebate is about the Polluter Pays principle. In short, if you make the mess, you clean it up, or pay for someone else to clean it up. It's like being an adult, and taking responsibility for your actions.

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