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Letter: How should we pay for climate change?

'I look forward to a time where the carbon tax will start to be high enough that people will change their behaviour...'
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"Want to take a long flight? Pay more carbon tax!"

I was recently reading a report that the B.C. government will spend upwards of $966 million on just wildfires in 2023. Here in Whistler we spend millions on FireSmart™. All levels of government are embracing the spend, but who is paying for that?

How do we get the biggest emitters to pay the biggest part of the cost of climate change, i.e. floods and fires?

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives estimates extreme weather events cost the B.C. economy between $10 to 15 billion in 2021. We know our insurance rates are going up, but where else are true climate change costs being passed on?

As I look into the carbon tax, it seems like a brilliant piece of policy: charge emitters based on actual carbon burned, give rebates to those who can least afford the cost. Want to take a long flight? Pay more carbon tax! Want to drive a bigger vehicle that emits more? Pay more tax!

This seems so sensible, yet I hear many well-educated people talking about how bad the carbon tax is. What are they opposed to? Shockingly, even Conservatives are opposed to a user-pay climate tax model. I truly don’t understand.

Can someone please explain to me why the largest emitters should not pay?

I look forward to a time where the carbon tax will start to be high enough that people will change their behaviour… or perhaps there is a better way to have high emitters pay more for climate change adaptation… I would love to learn more about those models.

Brendan Ladner // Whistler

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