The government of British Columbia revealed a new budget yesterday that incorporates a tax on all carbon-based fuels of $10/tonne of greenhouse gas generated. This applies to everything from the gasoline in cars to the natural gas used to heat homes. The tax is scheduled to take effect July 1st and it is estimated that this will add 2.4 cents to every litre of gasoline. That figure will rise as the tax triples to $30/tonne in 2012.
As a CBC article on the subject points out, reaction has been decidedly negative, with critics arguing that the large industrial polluters will merely pass the tax burden onto their customers through higher prices. As NDP finance critic Bruce Ralston notes, big industrial polluters are the real winners with this unfair tax, as they get to pass the costs on to Canadians who are already struggling to meet soaring gas and heating prices.
What this argument misses, though, is that financial hardship is precisely the purpose of this tax. The higher price for filling up at the pump will make consumers think twice about taking a long-distance drive or cranking up the thermostat during a cold snap. Of course, this will also mean higher shipping costs which will effect the price of all goods, including food, but that, some argue, is what it will take to save Mother Earth. A UBC professor quoted in this Kelowna Capital News article even asserts the tax as proposed is not enough to have an effect on climate change. In order to have a significant impact on the warming of the planet, he says, "the price should be somewhere in the neighbourhood of $100 plus per tonne." And if articles like this are any indication, citizens will gladly vote to tax themselves in the name of protecting the environment.
Indeed, that carbon dioxide is endangering the earth is hardly a foregone conclusion, despite what the corporate-controlled media report in their echo chamber. As climate scientist Tim Ball told The Corbett Report last year, the current CO2 atmospheric concentration of 385 parts per million is actually an historically low figure which may be starving plant life. "All the research shows that plants function best between 1000 and 1200 ppm," he pointed out, "and in fact commercial greenhouses pump in up to 1000 ppm to achieve four times greater yield." Download the mp3 of that interview at this link or listen to it in the flash player below:
Dr. Ball's point is not a trivial one; in fact, it goes right to the heart of the matter. Carbon dioxide, villified in the media as a deadly poison, is in fact an essential element of the ecosystem and important facet of life on earth. These political manoeuverings thus take on a darker tone. As MIT climate scientist Richard Lindzen said last year "Controlling carbon is a bureaucrat's dream. If you control carbon, you control life."
This B.C. tax cannot be written off as an isolated political event. As the Corbett Report reported last year, Quebec became the first province to openly levy a carbon tax in synchronicity with a report from the Canadian Council of Chief Executives demanding environmental taxation. Nor is this urge to control human development a Canadian phenomenon. London's mayor announced just last week that the city will be tripling the "gas guzzler" fee for large trucks and cars entering the heart of London. Given that these environmental taxes are being raised in incremental fashion, the UBC professor's call for $100/tonne taxation in B.C. doesn't seem so unrealistic after all.
Those effected by the tax are advised to let their representative know how they feel about a tax on life. Other concerned citizens around the world are advised to research what their own local government plan to do should this British Columbian experiment succeed in convincing a brainwashed public that they have to de-industrialize to save the planet.