To the Editor,

So, what is a tax? Most people understand that when the HST was introduced, this was a tax. When a person has an entitlement that is removed, this is also a tax. Many do not recognize this.

It is very clear that global warming is having negative impacts on the weather in Canada, and around the world. The future is looking grim, with the potential for catastrophic change becoming more likely. Goodbye Florida, among other low-lying islands. In response, some jurisdictions have introduced incentives, positive and negative, to reduce carbon emissions. These incentives were intended to put a price on carbon emissions, and encourage reductions.

Until earlier this year there was a positive incentive program in Ontario, to support new windows, improved insulation, electric cars, among other things. Then we had a change in government. This new government quickly eliminated these positive incentives, in the name of “reducing taxes”. While the end of the carbon tax was loudly trumpeted, the end of these incentives was not. This decision is an increase in taxes for those who had been motivated to take actions to reduce their carbon emissions, as these were funded by Ontario’s cap and trade program.

For example, I considered having a solar system installed. Until this year, there were positive incentives for people like me. Now, these are gone, but I will carry on. Why? I view this as buying insurance against catastrophic changes, which are highly likely to come. When? It is impossible to say, but it is coming, just like the 2008 financial meltdown. It had been obvious for years, but not obvious when the tipping point would come. It did.

We could do things that would help. Many people have heard that the Forests of the Amazon basin, are the “lungs of the planet” and have concerns about deforestation in that area. What happened to our lungs here? The knife has been busy cutting them out, just like South America. As the forests vanish, the negative impacts are very well documented.

I read the summary of the SNC report in the October 3 edition of the Review, and was struck by the recommendation of a ZERO municipal tax on “forested lands”. That is brilliant; Now dead land that costs the landowner, with this incentive could bring it back to life. Of course, the province could take this further beyond what the SNC recommended.

I can’t imagine that this provincial government would ever provide positive incentives to land owners to preserve their forests, so it will be “business as usual” to clear cut, release large amounts of CO2, and remove these natural carbon sinks. We will all pay this tax at some point, and it will HURT.

On Monday, October 8, I was pleased to hear that Nordhaus and Romer won the Nobel Prize in Economics. I have known of their work on Climate Change for decades, and I don’t think they would spit at anything stated here.

John Henning
Chute a Blondeau
Prof. of Agricultural Economics, (Retired)
McGill University