The scientific community in Canada and around the world remains unequivocal that climate change is a serious threat to our agricultural system, our economies, and indeed, to the continuation of human life on Earth.
What we are now experiencing in terms of wild weather, biodiversity loss, droughts, floods, environmental refugees and economic disruption could be small potatoes compared to what our children could face if we do not act.
Despite our small population Yukon is not exempt, and waiting for the Harper government to act appears futile. We should join Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and Alberta and over 40 nations worldwide who already have, or will soon implement, revenue-neutral carbon pricing to combat climate disruption.
To ensure business and public acceptance, carbon pricing should be structured to be job- and economy-friendly. For every dollar charged on emissions, a dollar should be either removed from other taxes, returned to citizens as a dividend, or invested in job-creating green technologies.
For example, under the cap-and-trade model, Yukon, at only 13 tonnes of CO2 per person, would likely be a net beneficiary. High-emitting provinces like Saskatchewan and Alberta (71 tonnes each), and even Ontario at 16 tonnes per capita would welcome the opportunity to purchase emissions permits from Yukon businesses and utilities.
If structured to deliver both an environmental and financial win, carbon pricing would likely be supported by Yukon citizens and businesses and endorsed by politicians of every political stripe.
Frank de Jong
Yukon Green Party
of Canada candidate