Two clear impressions have stayed with me—that we Nova Scotians are ready to speak perceptively, even courageously about our shared challenges, and that one major key to meeting those challenges is the institution of some kind of carbon pricing system.
One option is the pollution tax presented in the Broten Report, which would allow existing taxes to be reduced as it is implemented.
Another is ‘carbon fee and dividend’, advanced by the Citizens Climate Lobby, which is a simpler, more transparent mechanism that would rebate its proceeds directly to Nova Scotians.
It seems to me that either of these, or some hybrid of the two, could work to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. Even better, if designed with the long view in mind, carbon pricing could drive other progressive changes and spin off winners in many quarters.
The rest of Canada and the world would begin to see Nova Scotia as a leader in responsible sustainability—a place where commercial, environmental, and social progress are linked for the common good.
Please don’t get me wrong: pricing carbon alone won’t free us from our unsatisfying, unsustainable present. It does look like a step in several right directions, however, whereas continuing to do what we’ve been doing promises to take us nowhere.
The “Let’s Talk Taxes” group I was part of saw this and were ready to move forward. If enough other Nova Scotians are like them, and if the current government—as it claims—has the courage to make the tough decisions on which a stronger future can be built, we can start remaking our province in very positive ways. I believe we’re ready to meet the challenges that face us—let’s start by putting a price on carbon.
David Henry, Halifax