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If you’re profiting off pollution, I question the motives behind a carbon tax plan


Carbon taxes really are just a money grab our federal and provincial governments have skillfully disguised as a noble effort to reduce our carbon footprint.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about being cleaner, reducing pollution, and making every reasonable effort to protect our environment for our kids, our kids’ kids, and the generations that follow. I have a daughter, and I want her to be able to go fishing, camping, and enjoy the outdoors like I did as a kid – not to mention drink clean water and not have to deal with mass disease because of an ever-increasing global temperature.

But when a government charges a tax on carbon emissions, collects that tax and uses it in areas it knows will garner the most public approval – be it income tax cuts, childcare funding, or anywhere else that is completely unrelated to where the tax came from in the first place – it just reeks of hypocrisy.

It’s nothing more than the government profiting of the guise that it is trying to protect the environment from the evil polluters. It’s also borderline genius, because on the surface, the public sees a government that is “trying to help the environment” by charging emitters, while at the same time creating another revenue stream that can be used to “buy” approval from other, non-environment related areas.

Studies also show that, for the most part, people don’t care about paying the extra few cents at the pumps for the carbon tax, or in many cases, don’t even realize they are, which means the tax is not curbing the public’s fuel usage.

There are several ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that do not involve taxing emitters and funding the government. For the trucking industry it doesn’t take a Harvard Business School graduate to realize that the less fuel you use, the better off your company will be from a financial perspective. And for years now, the industry has been rolling out technologies to help curb fuel consumption and save millions of dollars in costs.

If the government truly wanted to see emitters lower the amount of carbon they produce, and not financially benefit off the number of tons of greenhouse gases they emit, it would take an encouragement approach, whether that be through financial incentives or otherwise.

Carbon emissions have been on a steady decline in the U.S., mainly because of its move away from coal and more toward natural gas as a power source. It is a cleaner option, and companies making cleaner choices should be rewarded for that choice, which would encourage others to do the same. Whereas slipping a carbon tax on emissions does little to encourage change, and companies simply find a way to pass the buck on to others.

What kind of successful business person in the trucking world would ignore financial incentives for reducing their fuel consumption and scoff at lowering their expenditures and creating a healthier bottom line? Lower fuel consumption, save money, and get rewarded with even more money. It’s a no brainer!

The only problem with this plan is that it doesn’t line the pockets of the government. And with all the wasteful spending we see from the government on multiple levels, you can’t convince me that there is no way to fund a program that would accomplish just what the government says it wants to achieve with its carbon tax plans.


Derek Clouthier

Derek Clouthier

A university graduate with a degree in English, I have worked in the media industry as an editor, reporter and now as editor of Truck West. I have several years of management experience in journalism, as well as hospitality, but am first and foremost a writer, both professionally and in my personal life, having completed two fiction novels. derek@newcom.ca @DerekClouthier
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1 Comment » for If you’re profiting off pollution, I question the motives behind a carbon tax plan
  1. Alan Goodhall says:

    BC, Ontario, and Quebec have carbon pricing/taxing in place currently. I’ve been searching for how these provincial governments use these monies to fund income tax cuts, childcare, or other unrelated expenses and I’m coming up empty.

    Here in Ontario where I live the funds are used primarily as financial incentives to fund renovations for homeowners and small business to reduce costs through energy savings.

    At the same time is stimulates business at the local level as we hire contractors to do the work.

    Our next home renovation project, replacing all our windows in our older home, comes with a $5000 cash rebate from the Green Ontario fund. Yes, that money is raised through carbon taxes.

    These programs provide an immediate cash incentive, enhance the value of our homes/businesses and provide significant ongoing energy cost savings.

    You make some interesting points but are you falling victim to populist political opinion before doing deep research into a complex issue? I ask with respect, not rancour.

    After all, as you stated at the outset, our future generations will have to live with the results of our individual decisions.

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