Let's clear the air!
Written by Marie Renaud, MLA for St. Albert.
First published in Albertaner on June 1, 2016
One of the things that always gets missed in the debate about a carbon levy is that it’s not just carbon. It’s pollution. Everything we burn, whether it’s for driving our cars, heating our homes or generating electricity, is pollution that damages our health and our environment. And it is a fact that parts of Alberta have exceeded recommended pollutant levels for several years.
Let’s be clear. There is a cost to doing nothing. Staying stuck in the past will only hurt Alberta’s environmental record and our economy.
It is irresponsible and scientifically unsound to deny that climate change and environmental damage is taking place, here in Alberta and around the world. That is why our government is being responsible and introducing a forward-thinking Climate Leadership Plan which includes the implementation of a carbon levy.
Residents in my constituency of St. Albert have been asking, how will the carbon levy be reinvested directly into reducing pollution?
The carbon levy is a fair way to put a price on this pollution. Everybody who uses carbon-based fuels for heating, driving or electricity pays for that use, and the amount of fuel you use increases the amount you pay, so that people who prudently limit the amount of carbon and pollution they emit will also limit the amount they pay.
Our rebate program will more than cover the average cost of the carbon levy for eligible low and middle-income households.
Some other questions I have received from constituents on fixed incomes, such as seniors, who support the carbon levy but are concerned that an indirect consequence will be the cost of electricity increasing.
Our government wants to assure you that our rebate program will more than cover the average cost of the carbon levy for eligible low and middle-income households. And we know that seniors generally use less carbon so this will mean they will have extra money in their pockets as a result of this policy.
We’re taking every penny over and above the rebates that we send back, and investing that in green technology and economic diversification, so that more people are working, more money is flowing into the economy, and more is being done overall to lower the amount of pollution and carbon emission and make our environment and economy healthier.
The connection is direct and simple. The less pollution and carbon you emit into the atmosphere, the less you pay, and the more you will benefit from the rebate. The more that is paid into the carbon levy by heavy emitters, the more will be returned into the economy to create jobs, diversify the economy and help reduce carbon and pollution emissions. It is important to also note that even once the carbon levy is fully implemented, Alberta would still have the lowest taxes in the country.