Tell Our Politicians: Pollution Can't be Free

Goal: 1,000

Climate change is the greatest risk to human health. For younger Canadians to thrive, we need to do everything we can to stop Earth from warming more than 1.5°C. The good news: one of the most important actions we can take is pretty common sense → don't let pollution be free. It's time to recognize that pricing pollution is a health intervention.

We call on our politicians to put a high price on carbon, to use the revenue to make other aspects of life healthier and more affordable, and to help Canadians make good money as we transition to a green economy. 😎

Our kids will thank us.

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Why pollution can't be free

We're at risk of handing down a "Hothouse Earth" to younger Canadians and future generations if we don't act fast → with permanent environmental losses, escalating health risks, more frequent and severe flooding, wildfires, droughts and storms, and massive liabilities and debts. Not. Super. Fair. 

In Oct. 2018 the world's top climate scientists released a report detailing the devastating differences between warming the planet by 2°C, or staying at or below 1.5°C. To avoid the worst, we probably have less than twelve years to cut pollution nearly in half.  

But stay cool people. One of the biggest reasons things have become so bad is because in most places it's been free to dump global warming pollution into the air. And if we keep it free, we'll just keep polluting. Common sense stuff.  

This is a Nobel prize-winning idea 

The obvious flip side is that one of the simplest and most effective ways to stop climate climate change is to make it more expensive to pollute. Economics 101, really. But also, a Nobel prize-winning idea.  

According to 2018 prize winner Dr. William D. Nordhaus, the single most effective thing we can do to slow climate change is create "a global scheme of carbon taxes that are uniformly imposed on all countries."

Copy that. Let's do our part.

If we don't, we're discriminting against the future of our kids.

How to price pollution 

Both carbon taxes and something called "cap and trade" can be used to price global warming pollution. Cap and trade is used in Québec and was briefly used then cancelled in Ontario. Cap and trade can work, but carbon taxes are gaining steam because of their simplicity. Either way, we're calling on Canada's politicians to put a price on pollution with three things in mind:   


High enough to work 

Making carbon pollution more expensive will help slow climate change, but only if the price is high enough, and only if it keeps going up. So let's crank it.   


Use it to make life more affordable 

Use the revenue to make other aspects of life healthier and more affordable → by cutting income taxes, investing in things that'll cut housing, transportation, medical or family costs, and/or preventing tax increases that otherwise might be necessary to pay for climate change-related damage.

Raise taxes on things we want less of, and lower taxes on things we want more of... it makes a lot of sense. But we need governments to be 100% transparent about the precise tradeoffs they choose to make, otherwise it's hard to trust. 


Make good money while we're at it

We don't mean to be crass, but instead of treating all of this like a big bummer, our politicians can help Canadians prosper from the transition to a green economy. 

We'll need good plans to help businesses adapt, but there's a pile of jobs to be had and money to be made if we get out in front of this → pairing a high enough price on pollution with leadership in low and zero-emission business. Less whining, more innovation. 

Our kids will thank us. 


We're took this to court 

The Premiers of Ontario, Saskatchewan are currently challenged the Government of Canada in court, in an effort to push back against a federal price on global warming pollution. Their challenge was dismissed by Ontario and Saskatchewan courts.

In 2020, the Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta governments brought their case to the Supreme court. Gen Squeeze, alongside our partners listed below, fought this appeal. As of November 2020, the decision of the supreme court is still unknown. 

But we can't allow pollution to be free.

We teamed up with five other organizations to intervene in the court cases — together, we're arguing that pricing pollution is necessary in order to prevent discrimination against younger Canadians and to protect our health. 

Partners in our court action





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