The Futility Of The Campbell Carbon Tax In British Columbia


We present two letters by B.C. environmentalists. The first is by Tim Murray who says that both the Liberal government of B.C. and the NDP opposition continue to see no contradiction between continued population growth and attempts at environmental conservation. He points out that we have to focus on reducing total consumption, not per capita consumption. Continued population growth increases total consumption. The second is by Rick Shea who says that all the gains that are predicted to occur in British Columbia by 2020 because of B.C.'s new carbon tax will be negated soon after by the increased consumption of B.C.'s growing population. Almost all of B.C.'s population growth is caused by unnecessary immigration.

Canada's 9 other provinces and its 3 territories who may be thinking of enacting legislation similar to that in B.C. should take note.


(1) Letter By Tim Murray to the NDP-Liberal Growthist Coalition

Members of the NDP-Liberal Growthist Coalition in British Columbia and other areas of Canada should read the following letter composed by Mr. Rick Shea from Salmon Arm, BC. Mr. Shea makes a point that the environmentalists in the Suzuki Foundation, the Sierra Club, and the Green factions in the other parties never do: it is not per capita energy efficiency or per capita consumption that is relevant but TOTAL consumption. You can increase the efficiency of air conditioners by 17%, but that is of little consequence if the number of air conditioners in use increases by 36%. Or you can triple the efficiency of refrigerators in California within a certain number of years (to use former deputy Green leader Jim Harris favourite example of the wonders of technology), but that is of no avail in a state that quadruples its population over the same time frame and more than quadruples its use of refrigerators.

The only way to reduce total consumption is to shrink the economy. To stop growth. Not manage it as B.C. MLA Shane Simpson is fond of saying. The Royal Academy of Sciences says that if we dont stop growth, we are cooked. Literally. We wont avoid that fatal 2 degree tipping point. Mr. Simpson does not understand that there is nothing “smart about smart growth. And the NDP in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, like the Liberals in B.C., dont understand that there is nothing sustainable about growth either. Not in a finite system.

On January 24, 2007, B.C. MLA Shane Simpson told an NDP gathering that he would not tell people not to come to British Columbia. Well, B.C. Parks tells people not to come to Bowron Lakes Provincial Park and the West Coast Trail when those places are over-burdened. Vancouver Island's Qualicum Beach has capped its growth, and yes, it is legal to do that. If Mr. Simpson were a motel owner, would he never hang out a No Vacancy sign? If he owned a popular restaurant would he disregard the Fire Marshal and have the line-up out on the sidewalk come in and sit on peoples laps or crowd in more tables and chairs? What is so morally offensive about setting limits when limits are set everyday around us? On elevators. On buses. On planes. Environmentalists ask us to set limits on our appetites, on our greed. Why dont they ask us to set limits on the number of children we have? Why dont environmentalists demand that we set limits on the number of people who live in Canada? When asked on Australian public airways if Australia had too many people and should stop immigration, Dr. David Suzuki replied, You bet. He knows Canada is in the same boat, but will not say so publicly. Why?

Tim Murray
Quadra Island, B.C.


(2) Letter By Rick Shea To B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell and B.C. Environment Minister Barry Penner:

The advertising promoting our shiny new carbon tax claims that, by 2020, the reduction in GHG emissions will be roughly equivalent to removing 800,000 cars from the road (787,000 according to the British Columbia government web site).

According to Statistics Canada, British Columbia is growing more rapidly than most other provinces. At the current annual growth rate of 1.4%, British Columbias population stands to double within 50 years. In one year, the increase will be about 60,000 people, or about 24,000 households.

At an average of about 1.8 vehicles per household, each year the number of vehicles will increase by approximately 43,200. This means that, by your target year of 2020, the number of vehicles will increase by approximately 520,000. It also means that by the year 2026, all the supposed reductions in GHG emissions will be completely cancelled by the increased number of vehicles on the road (not to mention the increased GHG emissions from other sources which are required to support this population growth).

The response, Im sure, is that this is only a part of a comprehensive environmental protection plan (did I get the jargon right?). But again, continued population growth will negate any benefits, even with the token changes people are being asked to make. Any reduction in per capita consumption and emissions is quickly negated by an increase in the number of people. I suggest you read up on Jevons paradox, and the Khazzoom-Brookes postulate, to see how misguided our current conservation efforts truly are. Continuing along our current path will only lead to further species extinctions, pollution, soil degradation, resource depletion, water shortages, and general loss of the biodiversity we rely upon in order to survive on this endangered planet.

In short, Mr. Campbell, your carbon tax is a futile effort if you do not at the same time completely halt population growth in British Columbia lobby the federal government to stop immigration, promote voluntary birth control, and remove any incentives for more than one child per family.

As a taxpayer, I resent the squandering of my hard-earned tax dollars on futile and wasted programs du jour, and especially on advertising to promote those ineffective programs. I would much rather see my money spent in educating people about birth control, about Peak Oil and its consequences, and about how unsustainable our economy is and how we need to disentangle ourselves from our addiction to growth, oil, and over-consumption.

Thank you.

Rick Shea,
1375 Salmon River Road,
Salmon Arm, B.C.