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Letter: Carbon tax solves nothing

According to a recent Angus Reid poll, 45 per cent of Atlantic Canadians support a provincial carbon tax, with 55 per cent opposed.
According to a recent Angus Reid poll, 55 per cent of Atlantic Canadians are opposed to a provincial carbon tax. — 123RF Stock Photo

The imposition of a carbon tax on Newfoundland and Labrador households is an obnoxious concept designed to downgrade our standard of living such that we will all drive bikes, catch the GO train or walk to work. We will all live in tiny houses, heated by solar panels or — the ultimate saviour — wood chips. Those of us who must have a car will have an electric vehicle (EV), the result: we will all live happier, healthier and more productive lives.

If you believe all that you need a job on the cannabis farm where life is beautiful all the time. N.L. already has a carbon tax on gas, it’s the differential between the price at the pump and the average price in Canada excluding existing carbon taxes; Muskrat Falls is going to be a carbon tax on our heat and light and cost of doing business which will escalate living costs across the board. Any further taxes are completely unjustified.

We have HST on the gas tax, another obnoxious concept. Where is our premier on this, is he driving an EV? I think not! In order for EVs to have broad acceptability they must at least be as good as conventional vehicles, and for the next five to 10 years they will be nowhere near it. Battery technology has to be vastly improved, indeed completely revolutionized. They have to function efficiently in cold weather. They currently do not. In Labrador, they may never. The EV climate control can eat as much electrical capacity as the motor; forget about heated seats. They need far more capacity in a smaller, lighter format. Further, 90 per cent of electrical panels do not have the capacity to add a 50+ amp breaker required to rapid charge an EV with any reasonable amount of utility. My bet is on hydrogen fuel for northern climates, long-distance vehicles, construction equipment, ships, etc. Aircraft are a huge polluter and challenge.

There is no doubt that we all want clean air, clean water and a cleaner environment, and the participation of the majority of us is required to minimally scratch the surface. Government policies that are strategic, focused and effective in reducing green house gases and unfriendly environmental waste need to vastly increase. We need a comprehensive education program. What about plastic supermarket bags? They should cost you 20 cents a piece at the store with 15 cents going to education and a nickel to the vendor; result: unfriendly waste minimized; the Co2 in manufacturing, transportation, printing, vastly reduced. Straws, for hospitals and nursing homes, “OK”; gone in fast food and restaurants, gone from supermarket shelves; gone is the associated carbon. North America has a throw-away mentality; we don’t build anything with longevity in mind, nor do we buy anything with the thought of wearing it out; colour and style send many expensive items to the scrap heap. It’s a serious shortcoming that contributes big time to our carbon footprint. Free enterprise, merchandising and our mindset, plus lack of government policy are the cause. In Europe, they build houses to last hundreds of years, and cars to perform for hundreds of thousands of miles. In North America we don’t have any such objective; we build for looks and plan to sell before the roof shingles fail in 15 to 20 years. With government regulation we should be mandated to have 50-year roofing. Result: significantly reduce rot, insurance claims, environmentally unfriendly waste, etc.

Hot water boilers fail in five years plus one week? They have a finely tuned life cycle. Government should mandate a 50-year life, with near zero heat loss. Result: major savings on the carbon footprint. We have R2000 insulation standards, why not 100-year building standards?

There are a million of these examples where government is failing us. What about tires on new cars 20,000 to 25,000 kilometres of life; ridiculous, should be 100,000, minimum. The wear on those junk tires is deposited on our roads, washed into the ditches and ultimately pollutes our waterways and oceans. It turns my stomach to see big mosaic islands on roadways painted with excess in mind, because I know where that paint is going in the next few months. Government innovation seems limited to taxing, wasting, spending and globe trotting. “Oh boy”!    

Jim Radford
Salmonier Line

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