A friend of mine, who has recently taken a job on behalf of a political party on the left side of Canada’s political spectrum, asked me to write about the importance of a carbon tax. This tax, he believes, needs to be implemented in order to help Canada do its part to ward off human-induced climate change.
Meanwhile, this past week another friend published some reflections on a Fox News poll taken last December that shows climate change to rank near the bottom of a list of 11 areas of concern for Americans. (Note: This was a poll of the general American public, not of the Fox News audience.) While three-quarters of those polled were concerned about health care, political divisions in the United States, the opioid addiction crisis, and the economy, not even two-thirds were concerned about climate change.
Yet another friend helped produce the 2010 film “Cool It,” a documentary meant to rebut the alarmism of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” while recognizing that global climate change is a real problem. It offers a more realistic way to deal with the many problems that attend such a change than trying to curb the use of fossil fuels by taxes and command-and-control regulation. (Here is a recent op-ed by its charismatic hero, Danish economist Bjørn Lomborg. And here is a critique of Lomborg’s work.)
What in the world are we to do?
I’m not an expert on any of the issues involved—not one—so you won’t find any global policy recommendations from me. And organizations such as A Rocha Canada will have better suggestions than I will.
But how about starting with the obvious?
Recycling has been shown to be highly problematic. It doesn’t pay for itself, although we were promised it would. It often requires more from the environment than it saves—think of the ecological cost of trucks having to chase blue boxes from one prairie farmhouse to another. People who put the wrong item in the wrong box make the recyclers process it twice. And so on.
Still, shouldn’t we recycle what we can, where we can do it efficiently? Surely some benefit is better than no benefit.
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