MLI Munk Senior Fellow Sean Speer joined CBC’s Carole MacNeil alongside Muneeza Sheikh and Michael Coren to discuss the Trudeau government’s approach to climate change.
Is the carbon tax more style than substance? Do the current measures introduced by the federal government do enough to curb emissions? And what should the government do regarding climate change?
According to Speer, “inaction has transcended partisanship,” when it comes to climate change.
“Since the Kyoto Accord was signed, we’ve seen successive governments mostly involved in ‘style over substance’.”
Speer points out that the federal government’s approach to the environment has required framing the debate in a misleading way. Namely, he points out that argument that the “environment and economy go hand in hand” neglects the reality that to truly address climate change, there will be costs are trade offs associated with changing behaviours.
However, Speer also warns that if taxes and regulations are too stringent in Canada, there could be a situation in which “carbon leakage” actually occurs. Carbon leakage is when polluters move to less stringent jurisdictions in order to avoid taxes and burdensome regulations, thereby continuing to pollute aggressively and hurting the domestic economy in the process.
To actually begin to meaningfully address climate change, Speer argues that we need to start by having a “dispassionate conversation,” about the trade offs between the environment and the economy.
“If we’re going to begin to take this issue seriously, and I think we ought to, we’re going to have to dial back the politics and deal with what is ultimately a technocratic question.”