On May 5, Sudburians, along with citizens in more than 1,000 communities from every corner of the Earth, “Connected the Dots” about the reality of climate change.
Elder Christina Agawa opened Sudbury’s sharing circle with a traditional teaching and song. Her words and song personally gave me hope and courage to continue to be an advocate for the climate.
Then David Pearson, co-chair of the Ontario Expert Panel on Climate Adaptation, shared a story of an exceptionally warm first day of spring, March 21. One weather event does not equal climate change.
However, he spoke of giant air cells in the atmosphere that move air from the tropics northwards, and how the one over the tropics has moved 200 miles north.
In his final story, Pearson relayed how an Albertan carbon capture and sequestration plan was scuttled because it does not make economic sense. For it to be economically feasible, there is a need for a carbon tax.
Mercedez Quinlan (wife of Progressive Conservative Gerry Labelle) and Steve May (an officer of the Green Party of Canada), performed a colloquy about putting a price on carbon pollution. In their conversation, “Cathy Orlando” (me) and “Gerry Labelle” described their worries about climate change and Canada’s economy.
Eventually they come to a consensus on the carbon fee and dividend model for taxing carbon pollution. With carbon fee and dividend, an incrementally increasing fee is put on carbon pollution, and 100 per cent of the dividends are given back to the people.
Laurentian University economist, David Robinson, conveyed that almost all economists agree there needs to be a carbon tax. In order for an economy to work, the prices on all commodities must reflect their social cost, and currently, fossil fuels do not. Consequently, we have a distorted economy that is especially impacting the poor.
Although many will cite resistance to a carbon tax by conservatives, many socialists have opposed a carbon tax, too, under a misguided assumption that it will hurt the poor.
As for cap and trade, economists agree in principle that it could work under perfect conditions. Robinson questioned how an imaginary market (carbon) that gives property rights (the air) over to a small minority of people, who would all have to be perfectly honest, would work in reality.
There was a reflection from someone who attended a conference last year on helping vulnerable people during an extreme climate event. Her take-home message from that conference is we all are vulnerable.
Bob Rogers, co-chair of Greater Sudbury’s Climate Change Consortium, shared how we have created a network that links agencies that are working collaboratively to help our community adapt to the changing climate, and how Sudbury’s work on climate adaption is being used as role model for the rest of the province.
Finally, a teenager held up her little sister’s knapsack, put all of Sudbury’s words of climate action into that knapsack and invited people to keep putting good things into it. For Sudbury’s words, see the photo.
Cathy Orlando, MSc Bed, is the Canadian project manager and Sudbury group leader for the Citizens Climate Lobby.
Posted by Arron Pickard