Climate change is a political fact. There is no debate about whether this is true or not. Enough of the population believe that it is an imperative issue to make it a political fact. Just like west coast, Indigenous and western alienation enough people have concluded them to be issues and therefore, they are real, tangible political issues that need to be addressed. Creative Humanism is based on the realities of the people and if the people in sufficient number determine things to be important that we need to take action, then the nation has an imperative to take action. It is a simple political fact.
How to address the issue is another matter. That is where philosophy becomes important.
Creative Humanism believes that people have a responsibility to find balance with nature. There is no question that our consumption is generating far too much greenhouse gases and we need to find carbon balance. It is our responsibility to the earth. But the issue goes far beyond carbon. The philosophy proposes a different way of looking at the products that we harvest from the earth and then process. Rather than looking at the earth, its resources as something that has been given to us to conquer, conquest and consume, the perspective is that they are precious and must be harvested respectfully, carefully and in a manner that assures their continuity. It is like climate concern going to the next level. Addressing the next disaster before it happens.
The philosophy also has a global perspective. We have a responsibility for the entire earth; it doesn’t stop at our geopolitical borders. If there is a way that we can export natural gas to China and India and get them to convert coal fired electrical generators to use gas and save 23% of the world’s carbon emissions, we should do that. We still need to balance our carbon emissions but if we can help the world, we have an obligation to do so: it is all connected.
In the same way, we are responsible for all of the damage that is caused by our consumption no matter where in the world it happens. We cannot off-shore our responsibility to the earth. Pushing production out of the country to a third world nation where the product is allowed to pollute the rivers and destroy the environment is not a form of absolution. Our responsibility for the by-products of our consumption is not bounded by our geo-political boundaries. Indeed, keeping production domestic and doing everything humanly possible to mitigate the damage is probably better for the earth than pushing it out of our jurisdiction to somewhere that does not have the capability to manage the process.
Balance will need to become integral in our way of life. It cannot be a dictate from the state. That is the same old-style command and control process of the European mindset. Engage the people and they will find a myriad of solutions beyond anything that a ruling elite would come up with. An example is that in the last four years the United States has reduced their carbon emission to the point of almost meeting their Paris Accord targets. This is with a president that withdrew from the accord and had a public persona of not pushing the climate change issue. Canada on the other hand, introduced carbon taxes, made every effort to restrict oil and gas production and transmission but experienced increases in carbon emission. Treat citizens like adults and look to them to find and implement solutions. They will.
There is an economic theory that if the government puts a tax on a product the consumer demand for it will go down. Like most of the economists’ theories has heavy caveats including “in the long run” and “in a normalized situation”. It is an imprecise science. There is not a lot of data to address whether carbon taxes actually do anything other than fill government coffers. It appears that in the years since British Columbia introduced a carbon tax, the total emission increased in about half of those years.
The philosophy of Creative Humanism is that the government is created by the people and given certain rights. This kind of carbon tax is not one of the four kinds of taxes that the people are permitting the government to implement. Therefore, to do so the government would need to go the people to seek the approval of an informed public. The information would need to include the specific expected benefit and impact on the global climate issue, details on the tax increases presented in how it impacts the individual, timetable and use of proceeds.
There would be some requirements on the tax. It should include all Canadians anywhere in the world. We should not just push consumption out of the country; that defeats the purpose. It should apply to all Canadians equally. There should be no rebates. No one should make money off of this tax. And it must be approved by plebiscite in each province as resources and health are provincial issues.