David Suzuki recently wrote in the News: “It’s past time we started conserving energy and shifting to cleaner sources.” I agree. I wonder how we came to our current wasteful habits given that many of us were raised by parents who lived through hard times, respected a dollar, knew how to live efficiently, taught their children not to waste anything, and still managed to live satisfying lives.
I remember putting storm windows on our house every fall and puttying every crack to reduce winter heat loss. Quilts kept us warm in bed, we wore underwear and sweaters, turned out lights and closed registers in rooms not being used, and we walked summer and winter instead of using a vehicle to go six blocks. We saved everywhere we could.
Today’s cost of living provides as much incentive to cut waste and reduce expenses as it did then, and individuals and jurisdictions are looking for ways to do so, yet Trudeau shut down discussion on how it may best be done. Instead he dictated a carbon tax beginning in 2018. He should start by finding efficiencies in the federal government before he hammers the rest of us.
Regardless, the issue of conservation remains, and we will have to use less energy if we are going to make a difference nationally. But a one-size-fits-all carbon tax does not in fact fit all, and may even be less effective than other options.
Among the suggestions Keith Halliday offered in his recent column was a home energy assessment which determined his house was losing heat equivalent to leaving a medium sized window open all winter. Keith’s house was average, meaning half are worse and half are better. Assuming burning an extra 700 litres of fuel per year and estimating 15,000 homes in Yukon, closing that window in all of them would result in 10.5 million litres of fuel saved per year, surely sufficient for an energy saving award rather than a kick in the financial pants from Trudeau’s carbon tax.
How do we close all those open windows? It could easily be done by amending building codes to require all new buildings to meet R2000 as a minimum standard coupled with generous maintenance and retrofit incentives for all existing homes and buildings that can reasonably be expected to generate ongoing savings above costs. Add to that design elements that would make it easy for later upgrades like adding solar panels and credits for other options like those supported by our Energy Solutions Centre, and a tax would not be necessary at all.
Moreover, I simply don’t trust what the government will do with carbon tax revenue. Do you?