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Kill cap-and-tax Copenhagen craziness

By Kevin Gaudet
web posted November 23, 2009

What do countries like Uganda, Burundi, Sudan and Djibouti have in common? Aside from terrorism, corruption and political instability, they are on the list of 49 countries that would receive billions of dollars every year from Canadian families as part of a new global warming agreement proposed by the United Nations (UN). And that's only the half of it. The UN also wants to impose new taxes on energy and industry that would increase energy costs and kill jobs. Prime Minister Harper should lead the world and reject calls to sign on to this misguided and expensive boondoggle – even if it means standing alone.

In December 2009, Canada will participate in a 192-nation conference in Copenhagen to hash out a scheme to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the failed international accord to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. All of this is being done in an effort to address modern and fashionable eco-guilt. Proponents of the meetings in Copenhagen propose a massive transfer of cash from developed to less-developed nations so we can atone for our supposed climate crimes. UN documents indicate this program will impose a one-time cost of at least $250 billion (US). Other reports indicate it could grow to as much as $100 billion per year. Canada's required contribution would be no less than $3 billion per year.

The Copenhagen scheme will also promote a new international market regime for trading CO2 called 'cap-and-trade.' What it really amounts to, however, is 'cap-and-tax.' This scheme would make an Enron trader smile. It would create an artificial market with an overall government-set cap on CO2 emissions and government-set quotas for an individual company's emissions. The company would then have to reduce emissions to meet its quota or buy emission credits from a company that had emissions lower than its quota.

The result will either be Canadians paying more for the same products, or Canadian-based companies pulling up stakes and moving to foreign countries that don't impose these additional taxes. Either way, climate change agreements like Copenhagen mean even more taxes that Canadians can't afford to pay, destroying more jobs that Canadians can't afford to lose.

Let's not forget, we already pay substantial energy taxes in Canada. 33 per cent of the cost of a tank of gas is tax!

The realization that reducing man-made CO2 levels means a reduction in the standard of living for ordinary people will awaken Canadian politicians to an electoral hazard should they stay hitched to this global warming bandwagon craze.

Never mind we've had no global warming for the past ten years while CO2 levels have continued to rise.

The Canadian government has said it will wait for the results of the Copenhagen conference and for the US to finalize its climate change policy before announcing what Canadians are in for.

The US will probably not have a climate change policy finalized before the Copenhagen meetings. Some European governments even admit the Copenhagen scheme may not get adopted. Still, they are meeting in Copenhagen to agree to have another meeting some time in the future – all in the effort to appear to be doing something about a globe that hasn't warmed in a decade from over-heating.

Any effort to impose yet more energy taxes in Canada would redistribute scarce resources from productive to unproductive activities, reduce wages, kill jobs and leave families shivering in the dark with their budgets running on empty. Prime Minister Harper can show leadership by rejecting Copenhagen's efforts to drain more jobs and hard-earned tax dollars from Canada. ESR

Kevin Gaudet is the federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation. © 2009, Kevin Gaudet


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