How to make fighting climate change good for your pocketbook

This article was originally publiched on the Huffington Post on January 26, 2017: http://huff.to/2kdb4tp

Imagine this. You open your mailbox this month. Voila! Here is your first carbon dividend cheque from the province.

Suddenly, combating climate change with a price on carbon pollution doesn’t hurt your pocketbook like conservatives said it would.

Ontario could have a climate plan like this. It’s called carbon fee and dividend. The money collected from putting a price on pollution is returned directly to households as a carbon dividend cheque.

Instead of a cheque in hand on New Year’s Day, you started paying for the Ontario Liberal’s cap-and-trade plan.

Now, don’t get me wrong. A price on carbon pollution is essential.

Climate change is already costing us big time. Nature’s response to our pollution is like a tax on everything.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada says that insurance claims alone from extreme weather events caused by climate change cost Canadians $4.9 billion last year. This cost will only get worse — ice storms, wild fires, flooding and drought will hurt our economy and destroy our infrastructure.

In a carbon fee and dividend system, you would be the beneficiary.

But the Liberal’s chose a complicated, bureaucratic system of cap-and-trade for their carbon pricing system. What’s worse, the premier gave the biggest corporate emitters a free pass to pollute.

That’s right. Ontario’s biggest carbon emitters won’t pay a dime for their pollution permits. I guess they had better lobbyists than you and me.

The Liberal plan will raise $8 billion over the next three years — around $600 per person. The big question is who will benefit from pricing pollution: all Ontarians or government insiders?

In a carbon fee and dividend system, you would be the beneficiary. The premier, on the other hand, wants that money to spend on pet projects.

Our plan is simple: Put a high enough price on pollution that businesses will invest in low carbon solutions. Give all the money back to the people so that you have the money you need to decide how best to reduce your carbon footprint.

We don’t want the fight against climate change to be a drag on the economy or your family. Our goal is make you and your family better off by fighting climate change. But we need honest politicians willing to say no to the lobbyists — and yes to good and fair solutions.