Canada’s climate plan should be tied to a carbon budget

Elizabeth May

Madam Speaker, some future generation, if there is one, will watch the debates here in the House and weep at the tragedy of the Conservatives denying that there is any reason to bring in a carbon tax, at the Liberals patting themselves on the back as if bringing in a carbon price will solve the problem, and at my hon. friend for Cariboo—Prince George, who thinks that British Columbia’s carbon tax by itself was supposed to arrest a global problem.

I put it to my friend for Ottawa—Vanier that we have a carbon budget. The scientists have told us that we can afford to put no more than 590 billions tonnes of carbon in the atmosphere to stay below two degrees, which is the Paris target. Last year we emitted 50 billion tonnes, which means we now only have a budget of 540 billion tonnes.

Canada’s plan should be tied to a carbon budget. It should work backwards toward what we need to do to do our fair share to ensure not that we avoid extreme weather events—we cannot—but that we hang on to something that looks like human civilization so that our children have a livable world.

Where is that plan broken down, greenhouse gas tonne by greenhouse gas tonne, into actions taken by a government? That plan is only in our imaginations and does not yet exist, but we must see it soon.

Mona Fortier

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for saying that we all want a future for our children, our grandchildren, and our great-grandchildren.

I truly believe that we must move forward with our plan to price carbon. It is one of the least expensive means of reducing pollution and, at the same time, it fosters clean innovation. A price on pollution will encourage individuals to save money by taking public transit, buying a fuel-efficient vehicle, lowering the thermostat, or better insulating their homes. We must encourage Canadians to work with us to reduce pollution in Canada.