Friday, May 11, 2018

Letter: Regarding UCP condemnation of carbon tax

Phil Burpee - Carbon, shmarbon. Apparently some 98% of UCP delegates at the recent policy convention have come down enthusiastically on the side of repealing the current provincial Carbon Tax asap upon assuming the reins of power. This is an impressive display of group solidarity. It is also an impressive display of group miasma. Check out Doug Ford in Ontario and you’ll see what sort of intellectual power supports this kind of thinking. Maybe the sky is pink – and maybe the Earth is flat. Hey – it’s open to debate.

Just what is carbon? Well, it’s a versatile molecule that likes to bond with oxygen and hydrogen, and also forms the basis of what we perceive to be life-forms in this corner of the universe. It provides the hard structure of life and allows for water to be suspended in bodies. We are big squishy bags of water walking around in carbon vehicles – cell walls, bones, proteins, skin, etc. Where do living things get this carbon? - from the air, courtesy of suspended carbon dioxide (CO2), which is carbon bonded with two oxygen molecules (O2). Who extracts this carbon? - plants. Where do us animals get our carbon? - plants. We parasitize the plant kingdom because we can’t do that trick ourselves – photosynthesis is not our gig. And what is petroleum, aka oil? - predominantly carbon laid into the ground millions of year ago by the dead and buried forests of the day. And where did all those ancient plants get their carbon? - from the air, thus slowly reducing the proportion of CO2 in the atmosphere and allowing for the relatively cool and oxygen-rich biosphere we enjoy today. When we return that carbon into the atmosphere with the burning of hydrocarbon fuels, we reconstitute it back towards a CO2-rich soup that captures heat more efficiently – the greenhouse effect.

So, taxing carbon is a monetized acknowledgement of the negative aspect of dumping it willy-nilly back into the atmosphere, which abets deleterious climate change. The environmental debt incurred by the burning of fossil fuels carries down to our descendants – our kids. This is both foolish and immoral. It must become unprofitable to burn fossil fuels. Taxing carbon is at least as essential as taxing tobacco – they are both addictive and deadly. The UCP is dangerously out of step with reality.

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