© Simon Gee/Polar Bears International
10/30/2018 3:50:10 PM
Canada Leads with Carbon Plan
By Barbara Nielsen, Director of Communications
Break out the seal fat, unfurl the northern lights—and join us in a big hurrah to Canada for its new carbon pricing and dividend plan, which will go into effect in January.
“Polar Bear Week starts Sunday and I can’t think of a better way to kick off the celebration than with a big thank you to Canada, which happens to be home to two-thirds of the world’s polar bears,” said Geoff York, Polar Bears International’s senior director of conservation. “We’re grateful to the Trudeau government for showing other nations what leadership on climate change looks like.”
The recent U.N. climate change report recommends carbon pricing plans like Canada’s, with dividends returned to citizens, as the fastest, most equitable way of achieving the emission reductions needed to avoid a climate crisis—actions that will save the sea ice that polar bears require for their survival and benefit all life on Earth, including people.
The market-based approach was devised 25 years ago by economist William Nordhaus, who was awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics. Experts agree that such plans are humanity’s best hope for a swift transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
“Such plans factor in the true cost of carbon and level the playing field for renewable energy,” said York. “When fossil fuels cost more, companies have incentives to develop alternatives, and consumers are motivated to switch to those energy sources and reduce their consumption of fossil fuels. Market-based solutions like these provide an elegant solution to a complex problem.”
Nordhaus shared the prize with Paul M. Romer, an economist at New York University whose work shows that government policy plays a critical role in encouraging technological innovation.
Polar Bears International has long supported carbon pricing plans, and we are heartened to see the concept gaining momentum. According to the World Bank's Carbon Pricing Dashboard, some 46 countries and 25 cities, states, and provinces have carbon pricing plans, covering about 19.8 percent of annual emissions worldwide.
“We often hear overwhelming news about climate change, the Arctic, and polar bears,” York said, “but we know that if we take action now, we’ll see sea ice respond in time for polar bears, and we’ll also see changes that will make life better for all of us. Canada’s new carbon pricing plan is an encouraging step toward the future we want to see—and the Trudeau administration deserves recognition for its leadership.”