Carbon Fees and Dividends

Carbon cap

Yes, that’s a carbon cap!

Somebody asked:

Can anyone explain to me exactly how the fee and dividend system is better than cap and trade?

I first read about carbon cap and trade in Scientific American in the 1980s when it was still an economic theory that had yet to be put in practice. The idea is that each year the government sells or auctions off carbon credits to set a maximum amount of carbon emissions that any organization can emit. Organizations are only permitted to emit as much CO2 as the number of carbon credits they’ve purchased. If an company wants to increase its production they need to purchase additional carbon credits from another organization that hasn’t used all of theirs.

A benefit of cap and trade is the absolute limit it places on GHG emissions. This makes it easier for government to meet their carbon emission targets. Even if organizations trade or purchase carbon credits, the total amount of emission is fixed by the number of carbon credits issued. The cost of carbon credits is reflected in the price of goods produced, driving manufacturing processes to minimize GHG production, and causing consumers to avoid goods that have increased prices from carbon credits. Additionally, the price of traded carbon credits increases as demand for GHG goods increases, which should limit the demand for those GHG goods. Carbon credits become a commodity of their own, with trading in futures, derivatives, options, and other market instruments.

But the drawbacks of cap and trade are also significant. Every organization that emits GHG needs to be regulated and monitored — not just the companies that extract or sell fossil fuels, but every manufacturer, every airline, even forestry companies that reduce natural carbon sinks by cutting down trees. There are ways to circumvent the caps by purchasing goods from countries that have no emissions regulations, and carbon credit trading is a benefit only to the wealthy who can afford to dabble in the market, thus increasing income inequality even more.

But worse, when a government receives tax revenue from selling carbon credits there is no incentive to reduce the amount of carbon credits. Perversely, the incentive is to increase the amount of allowed GHG in order to increase tax revenue, lower the deficit, and “boost the economy”. We’ve certainly seen this with Canada’s current government.

In contrast, the Green Party proposes a Carbon Fee and Dividend system.

The government will collect carbon fees when GHG emitting fuels are extracted, or as they’re imported across the border. These fees are returned as dividends directly to Canadians.

Carbon fees might start at $50 per tonne of CO2 initially, increasing by $10 each year to $200/tCO2 by 2030. The costs are passed on to the consumers who use fossil fuels, but the dividends are distributed to everyone.

For industry and business, knowing there’s a set, predictable price for carbon-based fuel allows them to plan for a transition to a zero-carbon economy. As carbon fees increase it becomes increasingly profitable to invest in renewable and sustainable energy, such as the manufacture of windmills, low-head hydro-electric power, solar and geothermal energy, and all the related energy storage technologies. New, high-tech jobs in the renewable energy sector will outstrip the dwindling jobs in the extractive industries in short order.

For consumers there is an incentive to move off fossil fuels to renewable energy. All Canadians will receive the same dividend, distributed through the income tax system. People who reduce their GHG footprints, people with low incomes, and those employed in the renewable energy would benefit more — carbon fee and dividend is a means of income equalization.

Over time, as Canada moves to a carbon-free economy the fees collected will diminish. We’ll have met our carbon reduction targets, and created a vibrant sustainable energy industry. The Green Party is very optimistic that actions such as carbon fee and dividends will result in progress in Canada’s climate change obligations.

Further reading:

Carbon Hat by Anne Heathen is used under a CC BY-NC-NDCC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license.

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Strategic Voting Doesn’t Work, Redux

Bob Jonkman votes

Vote for the candidate who will best represent you

I’m going to aim one last kick at the “Strategic Voting” can. Now that there is a feel for the relative strengths of the candidates in each riding, there are people who think they can manipulate the First-Past-The-Post system to influence the outcome of the election and oust the Conservatives.

“Strategic Voting” is not very strategic. It’s a negative tactic to defeat a particular candidate; it is an insincere vote that does not reflect the true beliefs of the voter. There are two possible scenarios: Those ridings where the Conservative candidate is weak, and those riding where the Conservative candidate is strong.

Kitchener-Conestoga has a popular Conservative candidate, who won the 2011 election with a true majority of the votes. FPTP is not a factor in this case. Even with a proportional voting system, a candidate with a majority of votes will be the winner. FPTP or not, all votes for the other candidates put together cannot defeat a majority of the votes. So, in Kitchener-Conestoga, tactical negative voting will not work. You can safely vote according to your principles, and know that it will not affect the outcome. Vote for the candidate who will best represent you.

In Kitchener Centre it’s a toss-up between the NDP and the Liberals. The Conservatives don’t hold popular support in that riding, so that casting your vote for either NDP or Liberals and choosing the wrong “strategic” side just means the vote will be split. This is exactly what Strategic Voting activists fear the most. Vote for the candidate who will best represent you — which I hope is Nicholas Wendler for the Green Party, but I encourage you to vote for your principles. Any other choice just means the best you can hope for is electing a government you don’t want, and at worst handing a victory to the candidate you hope to defeat.

The Waterloo riding is another close call. Contrary to what the polls suggest, when I’ve been canvassing for Richard Walsh most people tell me they are still undecided. “Strategic Voting” means you need to know how other people will vote so that you can cast a negative vote against them, but in a largely undecided riding there’s not enough data on which to base your decision. Voting the for the candidate who will best represent you is the only strategic choice.

The strategic voting group Vote Together isn’t as effective as they hope. At a forum they held a few weeks ago they claimed to have maybe 2,000 supporters. But the Kitchener Centre voting base is around 65,000 people, so they hold only a small fraction of the votes. Their polling has been limited to small samples, land-lines only, with the usual inaccuracies that incurs. The small sample is not representative of the riding, and those people who respond may not be telling the pollsters how they really feel. The polls themselves show incredible fluctuation from one week to the next, showing that many people are still changing their minds, and may vote differently on election day.

Vote Together’s methodology is to ask their supporters for the “strategic” decision, so their own poll results aren’t even being used to determine Vote Together’s endorsement. You’ll find that Vote Together is predominantly endorsing Liberal candidates. But in Guelph they are still advocating strategic voting to oust the Conservatives, yet the Guelph Conservative candidate is not even a contender there — it’s entirely a race between the Liberal and the Green candidate, Gord Miller. Strategic voting has no role to play there, but Vote Together is endorsing the NDP. Vote Together’s “strategy” really makes no sense.

So, vote for the candidate who will best represent you. It’s the only way to ensure you’ll get the government you want.


See other posts tagged “strategic voting”

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Here’s Why

Here’s a very short (and shareable!) video to explain why I chose Green.

Watch on YouTube: Why Green?

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How to Vote

Presenting Identification

When you arrive at the poll location, present your Voter Information Card to make it easy for the Elections Canada staff to direct you to the correct polling station.

Go to your assigned poll and get the Ballot

Go to your assigned poll, present your identification and the Elections Canada staff will cross your name off the list and give you the ballot.

Because Canada uses a secret ballot, the next step is to step behind the privacy screen...

Because Canada uses a secret ballot, the next step is to step behind the privacy screen…

... where the voter marks their choice on the ballot.

… where the voter marks their choice on the ballot.

Because this is a secret ballot, the voter deposits the marked Ballot into the Ballot Box

The voter deposits the marked secret Ballot…

...into the Ballot Box!    And you're done!

…into the Ballot Box . . . and you’re done!

Bob Jonkman smiling behind voting screen

The feeling you get when you vote for what you want.

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A Green Town Hall — Guelph, 8 October 2015

Guelph Town Hall Title_0873

Guelph Town Hall held 8 October 2015 with Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands) and Gord Miller (Guelph)

Mike introduces_0078

Mike Schreiner introduces Elizabeth May and Gord Miller

packed house-0103

It’s a packed house!

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Foxboro Green Debate is Online!

The Foxboro Green Debate is on Bob Jonkman’s YouTube channel:

Debaters at Foxboro Green

Debaters at Foxboro Green

Talking to residents after the debate

Talking to residents after the debate

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Elizabeth May & Gord Miller Town Hall October 8th!

Guelph Town Hall with Elizabeth May and Gord Miller!!!

Thursday, October 08, 2015 ~ 7:30pm
at the Cutten Club 190 College Ave East, Guelph ON
Event Description

5:00 pm- Canvass with Gord (this is so much fun in Guelph!)

7:30 pm:

Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada and candidate (Saanich-Gulf Islands), and Gord Miller, Green Party candidate (Guelph), host a town hall in Guelph this evening. Please join *Bob Jonkman and I for this fabulous evening.  You’ll be able to ask Elizabeth and Gord your questions!

Learn more about the Green Party of Canada and why Gord is the best choice for Member of Parliament for Guelph.


Gord Miller

Elizabeth May

Elizabeth May

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Rogers Local Campaign Kitchener-Conestoga All Candidate Debate

Let the Debate Begin!

Before the gloves come off: (left to right) Art Sinclair (Chamber of Commerce), Tim Louis (Liberal Candidate), Bob Jonkman (Green Party Candidate), Eric Drozd (host), James Villeneuve (NDP Candidate), Rich Hodgson (Libertarian Candidate) & Harold Albrecht (Conservative Candidate)


Comparing Lottery results


Preparing to Debate


Ready to Roll

YouTube: Kitchener-Conestoga – Canadian Federal Election 2015 – The Local Campaign, Rogers TV

debaters on set

A good debate, but difficult to provide comprehensive answers when you’re limited to 60 seconds.

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Must Watch: Rogers Cable Debate Today!

Bob Jonkman after the Foxboro Green Debate

Election time is debate season for candidates.  Bob (pictured above at the Foxboro Centre Debate) has done well in every debate .   Tonight you can watch the debate live on Rogers Cable!

Watch it LIVE on Rogers ~ October 5th, 2015 at 7:00pm.

Find out more about Rogers Election Debate coverage here.

This should be pretty interesting as issues like the TPP heat up the campaign.

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National Security meets the TPP

The TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) is bad for Canada because... there is no national security without food security.

Canadian Farmers are right. No trade agreement like the TPP should be entered into without proper consultation with stakeholders.

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