(SUDBURY) – Professor of Economics and Green Party of Ontario candidate for Sudbury, Dr. David Robinson, is today calling on Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault to come clean with voters about the impending failure of Ontario's cap and trade scheme – the Ontario Liberals’ signature climate change program.
“Ontario's cap and trade system is simply doomed to fail because people will resist a government that raises the price high enough to shift away from carbon fuels,” says Robinson. “Glenn Thibeault knows this. He wasn't comfortable with the federal NDP's Cap and Trade policy, and that was one of the reasons he says he quit the New Democrats and joined the Liberals. Ironically, 3 years later, he's Minister of Energy charged with pushing this same scam at the provincial level.”
According to Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Dianne Sax, the province’s Long-Term Energy Plan will fail to help Ontario reduce carbon emissions. Sax advised the governing Liberals that radical changes to their plan were needed if Ontario was to have any hope of meeting emissions reduction targets.
“As an economist, I know that consumer behaviour is influenced by prices,” says Robinson. “As Minister of Energy, Glenn Thibeault knows that Ontario isn't on track to meet our greenhouse gas emission targets. He knows that the Liberals’ cap and trade scam isn't going to price carbon high enough to change consumer behaviour. Thibeault knows that some of the biggest emitters in the province aren't being charged for carbon pollution at all under the Liberal scheme.”
“Glenn and the Liberals’ cap and trade scam locks the province into a failed carbon pricing system,” says Robinson. “They support cap and trade because they need new revenue sources to fill government coffers and service the debt. And Jamie West's NDP have feebly bought into this scam hook, line and sinker.”
“What they should be doing is giving every cent earned through carbon pricing back to consumers,” says Robinson. “And that's what the Green Party will do through a revenue neutral carbon fee and dividend. The tax acts as an incentive to shift away from high carbon fuels. The dividend puts money in people's pockets and makes shifting away from high carbon fuels painless. Since consumers are getting a cheque as soon as the price of fuels goes up, they will be much more willing to accept increases. In fact they may push for a higher carbon tax.”
“Any economist will tell you the simple fact is that a carbon price has to be high to work,” says Robinson. “Without a dividend returned to taxpayers, the Liberals’ scheme will never see the price of carbon rise high enough to actually reduce emissions. The Liberals may say that they need the money to do all sorts of other things that are good for the environment, and it's true that the Liberals are funding some good initiatives through cap-and-trade revenues. But these are things that the Province should have been doing years ago. Greens will commit to providing a stable revenue source for projects and programs to reduce emissions, rather than treating them as an after-thought as the Liberals seem content to do.”
“Doug Ford can say Ontario's cap and trade system is unfair and will not work,” says Robinson. “On this matter, I agree with Mr. Ford – although not for the reasons that Ford, who seems to be a climate change denier, often cites.”
“I can't wait to have these discussions with my political opponents at the upcoming public debates,” says Robinson. “They all better get ready to defend the indefensible. People's lives are at risk from climate change, and to their considerable shame, the three old fossil parties just don't get it. “