Skip to content

Letter: This constituent does want a carbon levy

A carbon levy on consumption is an important tool in our work to live responsibly
opinion

Re:  My constituency doesn't want a carbon tax: area MLA

Ever since my days as an undergraduate student of economics in the 1980s, I have understood that one of the multiple flaws of the market economy is that it fails to account for the full costs of doing business.

Natural resources were considered abundant and free for the taking, and environmental costs and impacts, not to mention social costs, were ignored. 

All these years later, market system proponents continue to ignore these flaws, because recognizing them would detract from profits. 

A carbon levy is one very significant mechanism to place environmental costs rightfully into the equation of energy resource extraction and consumption.

Another textbook flaw of the market system is that it tends toward monopolies and with monopolies, all the internal balances of the 'invisible hand' equations fall apart. 

Effective market capital requires external government regulation to keep rampant profiteering of 'combines' in check.

I have been a small business owner, and I appreciate the conscientiousness and social responsibility that entrepreneurs and even corporations can bring to the businesses and services they/we want to offer to the world. 

As a young senior now, I am baffled and saddened by the fact that, as a society, for the entire duration of my adult life so far, we have ignored well known market flaws in order to conveniently and artificially increase profits.

It is beyond time to do better. We need to use mechanisms such as a carbon levy to rightfully include environmental costs in our energy extraction and use.

Far from being a 'money grab', as I have heard carbon levies referred to, they are simply an additional source of revenue to fund our collective needs, as administered to by the governments we create. 

They can also fund co-operative endeavours, such as our many rural gas, water, and electrical co-ops, who for decades have been using a business model to provide needed services in markets that the large corporations find not ‘feasible'.

Our current UCP government states that they prefer to impose carbon taxes on the large producers, rather than consumers, with approaches such as those outlined in their flagship Technology Innovation Emissions Reduction (TIER) program. I appreciate the sentiment. 

I perceive it as inconsequential however, as long as the actual implementation of those approaches remains token, at best. 

While TIER has yet to prove itself, the current rubber stamping of coal resource extraction projects in our precious headwaters by the Alberta Energy Regulator bodes no confidence whatever. 

Environmental protective measures actually undertaken by this and previous governments need to grow serious muscle.

Meanwhile, consumer buying power impacts the profit line of companies, as companies can only charge what the market will bear. 

A carbon levy on consumption is an important tool in our work to live responsibly on this planet.

Heather Plaizier,

Mountain View County