In his interview with Tom Clark this weekend, the NDP leader recommended a pair of readings. The first is his own essay, adapted from the preface to Andrew Nikiforuk’s book Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent, that appeared in the March issue of Policy Options.
If Canada could simply apply the basic principles of sustainable development, such as the internalization of costs and polluters pay, it would have long-term beneficial effects both environmental and economic. This is why I have proposed a “comprehensive cap and trade plan” that would be based on the principle that “polluters pay.” My plan would cap climate change pollution at the source, thus avoiding complicated monitoring systems that are prone to loopholes. It would also include all the major sources of climate change pollution in Canada. It’s a plan that has been endorsed by Professor Andrew Weaver, a lead author of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
Instead of taking such a sensible approach, Stephen Harper continues to heavily subsidize unsustainable practices by making direct financial transfers, by reducing taxes for petroleum producers and by investing large numbers of taxpayer dollars into speculative research into the capture and storage of carbon dioxide. We’re also exporting jobs, since exporting unrefined heavy oil creates no value-added jobs in upgrading or refining. It’s equivalent to exporting raw logs — a practice typical of undeveloped nations.
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