-- Open Letter to leaders of Canada's federal political parties --
/Release 00h01 (EST) Tuesday Oct. 7, 2008/
OTTAWA, Oct. 6 /CNW/ - More than 230 economists teaching in Canadian
universities have signed an open letter to federal political leaders calling
for economically coherent action on climate change. Among the signatories are
some of Canada's top economists, including current and past presidents of the
Canadian Economics Association, and holders of Canada Research Chairs and the
Order of Canada.
"Economists disagree on many things, but on what needs to be done about
climate change there is considerable agreement," explains Ross Finnie, one of
the three authors of the letter and an Associate Professor in the Graduate
School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. "The
signatories come from a wide range of political persuasions and will vote for
different parties, but we all agree that effective policies for addressing
climate change must be based on sound economic principles. Our goal is to help
inform public debate on climate change at a time when people are really paying
attention to this issue - during the federal election. Our hope is that
whichever party forms the next government will act on these principles."
"It's remarkable how much agreement there is among economists on this key
point - the best climate change policy is to put a price on carbon," says
Nancy Olewiler, another of the authors and director of SFU's Public Policy
Program. David Green, the third author and professor at UBC, adds "We also
want people to be clear that all policies that alter carbon emissions will
affect the prices they face - some more than others."
The signatories agree on these 10 principles:
1) Canada needs to act on climate change now.
2) Any substantive action will involve economic costs.
3) These economic impacts cannot be an excuse for inaction.
4) Pricing carbon is the best approach from an economic perspective.
a) Pricing allows each business and family to choose the response
that is best and most efficient for them.
b) Pricing induces innovation.
c) Carbon is almost certainly under-priced right now.
5) Regulation is the most expensive way to meet a given climate change
6) A carbon tax has the advantage of providing certainty in the price of
7) A cap and trade system provides certainty on the quantity of carbon
emitted, but not on the price of carbon and can be a highly complex
policy to implement.
8) Although carbon taxes have the most obvious effects on consumers, all
carbon reduction policies increase the prices individuals face.
9) Price mechanisms can be regressive and our policy should address
10) A pricing mechanism can allow other taxes to be reduced and provide
an opportunity to improve the tax system.
The full letter and a list of signatories can be found at
www.econ-environment.ca as of late Monday afternoon (EST).
For further information:
For further information: Nancy Olewiler, Professor of Economics at Simon
Fraser University: (778) 782-7700 or (778) 782-5289; David Green, Professor of
Economics at the University of British Columbia: (604) 822-8216 or (604)
230-6802; Ross Finnie, Professor of Policy Studies at the University of
Ottawa: (613) 562-5800,ext. 4554 or (613) 295-5798