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Letter: What is the Conservative plan for climate change?

Sudbury climate activist Sophia Mathur responds to an opinion piece by MP Marc Serré criticizing Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre with a letter of her own, wondering what the party has planned to fight climate change
typewriter pexels-cottonbro-3945337 (From Pexels by Cottonbro)

I agree with MP Marc Serré that Pierre Poilievre is fear-mongering (“Opinion: Don’t buy the Conservative line on carbon tax, Serré says”, published March 27). Until Poilievre shows us his climate plan, I, too, believe that he would leave the average person worse off while helping his rich friends pollute even more and make climate change worse for all of us.

We all know that the climate crisis is real, human-caused, and solvable. How do we solve it? We must listen to the experts and co-operate.

The following information is from the recent Open Letter from Economists on Canadian Carbon Pricing which has currently been signed by over 200 Canadian economic experts:

Carbon pricing has proven instrumental in curbing emissions while maintaining economic viability. Since the inception of federal carbon pricing in 2019, Canada has witnessed a notable decrease of almost eight per cent in GHG emissions, with projections indicating that carbon pricing will contribute substantially to emissions reductions by 2030.

Evidence from the Bank of Canada indicates that carbon pricing has a negligible impact on overall inflation. Factors such as disruptions from climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic, and geopolitical tensions have primarily influenced inflation rates. Moreover, the majority of carbon-pricing revenues are rebated to households, ensuring that most Canadians are economically unburdened by the policy.

The combination of carbon pricing and rebates provides a dual incentive for emission reduction while safeguarding households’ purchasing power. By rewarding emission reduction efforts with rebates, the policy encourages environmentally conscious behavior without unduly burdening consumers.

Canada’s carbon pricing framework is designed to promote emission reduction without compromising business competitiveness. Through an output-based pricing system, industries are incentivized to adopt low-carbon practices while remaining economically viable in the global marketplace.

While alternatives exist, carbon pricing remains the most cost-effective means of reducing emissions and fostering green innovation. Abandoning carbon pricing would entail higher costs and fail to offer a comparable solution to combat climate change.

And how did Poilievre respond to this information? Conservatives won't be taking advice from "so-called experts" when it comes to carbon pricing, the party said in a statement after more than 200 economists signed an open letter challenging leader Pierre Poilievre's stance.

When did a university professor not become an expert? But perhaps Maw and Paw Youtubers are experts in Poilievre's world?

Dismissing experts undermines progress and after the wildfires of last summer, it is disturbing. It feels like the Conservatives are not listening, they don't care, and that Poilievre  "would leave the average person worse off while helping his rich friends pollute even more and make climate change worse for all of us".  All they need to do is show us their plan. Slogans that rhyme and rile people up are not a plan. 

We must prioritize evidence-based policymaking for a sustainable future. Certainly, Sudbury's Conservative candidate in the last election, medical doctor Dr. Ian Symington, uses evidence to guide his decision-making. Perhaps Dr. Ian Symington will show us the Conservative climate plan.

Sophia Mathur 
Greater Sudbury