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LETTER: Carbon tax is about progress, not punishment

The concept of emission planning (carbon tax) was introduced in Alberta by Conservative Premier Ed Stemlach in 2007 with the Carbon Capture and Storage Funding Act.
The Alberta government says climate change is real and it is doing the right thing by imposing the carbon tax (which it calls a carbon “levy”) on Albertans.

Dear Editor,

Re: Carbon taxes increase price of more than just fuel, Dec. 28

This opinion piece was patently political and deeply dishonest.

At first glance I thought it might be a parody of a Breitbart or Rebel News diatribe, but no, Kris Sims was serious. The first three paragraphs clearly suggest the carbon tax was an idea that Rachel Notley came up with on her own and promoted through two election cycles. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The first levy on carbon appeared 100 years ago in England to combat the “London Fog” which was the result of coal-burning furnaces.

The concept of emission planning (carbon tax) was introduced in Alberta by Conservative Premier Ed Stemlach in 2007 with the Carbon Capture and Storage Funding Act. The following year federal Conservative Environment Minister John Baird referred to the concept of “carbon trading” as a key part of the emissions plan.

The only choice offered by the federal government was that the provinces could implement their own emissions plan (Alberta carbon tax), where the province would receive and control the revenue, or the federal government would impose the tax and collect the revenue in Ottawa.

The Notley government wisely chose the “Alberta” version and used the resulting revenue to create the Renewable Energy Program. This start-up fund supported research and development of renewable and alternate energy sources. One result of this initiative was four privately-funded projects worth $1 billion that created hundreds of jobs.

The UCP chose to cancel the Alberta carbon tax and transferred two-thirds of the money generated from it to support its “war room.” The cancellation resulted in the federal government taking over the implementation of the energy levy and managing the revenue from Ottawa instead of Edmonton. The federally-funded rebates continue to arrive in the mail for private citizens, but the job-creating research and development fund has been redirected.

The problem at the root of the carbon tax is climate change, first recognized in 1896 by Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius as a potential environmental hazard and now universally accepted as a world-wide issue that demands our immediate attention and action.

With investment of funds generated by the carbon tax, the same people who are working in the patch today could lead in technology doing the same work in the same area with the same technical expertise that will provide good jobs for Albertans and, at the same time, help save the world for our grandchildren.

And that’s what we’re talking about; progress, not punishment.

Wilson Southam