Carbon taxes spur alternatives and innovation

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Re: Hype doesn’t help forest fire efforts (The Standard, July 20, page 6)

I am concerned about the tone and misinformation that Tom Fletcher presented in his column. It is ludicrous to suggest that those in support of increasing B.C.’s carbon tax think it will put out forest fires. The purpose of a steadily rising price on carbon pollution is to make carbon-intensive goods more expensive than alternatives and to spur innovation. Carbon taxes don’t need to grow government coffers — for example, with carbon fee and dividend the revenue is returned to households as a dividend to help offset the rising costs.

Addressing climate change is a long-term project — one that will likely continue for all our lives. Increasing B.C.’s carbon tax is one way to do our fair share to rapidly reduce carbon pollution worldwide so that hopefully we can avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change. As our climate warms, the risk of devastating forest fires keeps increasing because higher temperatures and prolonged summer droughts dry out our forests. Governments are working hard to find measures to prevent and manage these long and intense fire seasons. Besides increased forest fires, climate change brings more extreme weather events causing more floods and landslides — like we had across the province this spring. Sadly, climate change is real and happening now. The well reputed National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) just announced that this year’s global temperature for January to June was the second warmest on record, surprising many scientists because this is not an El Niño year, like last year, when global temperatures tend to be higher. The current fire situation is of grave concern to many of us here in British Columbia. It will continue to get worse as years go by if we keep polarizing the issue instead of addressing its root cause — our carbon pollution.

My heart goes out to the thousands of fellow British Columbians impacted by these fires and to the fire fighters who work tirelessly to save our homes.

Laura Sacks

Castlegar

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