Why does the idea of a carbon tax divide conservatives in Canada?
With the COP24 underway in Poland, carbon pricing is back in the spotlight
Putting a price on carbon is our best bet to spur individual action against climate change, according to a conservative economist.
"We're not talking here about a policy to make changes over a year or four years," said Christopher Ragan, chair of Canada's Ecofiscal Commission and an economics professor at McGill University.
"We're really talking about a policy ... that will also rise over time, and drive a gradual change in behaviour over 30, 40 and 50 years," he told The Current's Anna Maria Tremonti.
The UN's COP24 — or the 24th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change — is underway in Poland today, putting carbon pricing back in the spotlight. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change recently published a report saying one of the keys to cutting carbon emissions is putting a price on them.
The idea divides conservatives in Canada. Some argue it's the best way to fight climate change, while others say it's a surefire way to kill jobs, and wouldn't have a substantial impact on greenhouse gas emissions.
"We seem to think that if we make gas a little more expensive, something big is going to happen," said Randall Denley, an Ottawa commentator and former Ontario Progressive Conservative candidate. "And I think that is a misperception when you consider how much the price of gasoline fluctuates."
"In Ontario we were paying $1.30 for gas a couple of months ago, now we're paying a dollar. If it becomes $1.05, what effect is that really going to have?"
Click 'listen' near the top of this page to hear the full conversation.
Produced by The Current's Kristin Nelson and Julie Crysler.