New carbon tax plan presented at clean energy conference
A group of environmental activists in Saint John are urging the New Brunswick government to create a new department, called RenewNB, to oversee a $20 per ton carbon tax investment plan.
The plan was unveiled at the Clean Energy East Summit, held at the same time as the large, more industry-oriented East Coast Energy Conference happening at the Trade and Convention Centre next door.
With numerous politicians and businesspeople attending the larger conference, local clean energy activists felt like their message was being lost, so they got together and put together a free conference with limited funds.
Mark D’Arcy, a campaigner with Council of Canadians in Fredericton, helped to organize the conference.
“We wanted to counter the message, and this project for Energy East is years away from even a decision on it,” he said.
“We’d like to see job creation programs started right now in clean energy and building efficiency.”
But most of the presenters, with topics such as solar, wind, and tidal energy, were speaking to the converted: roughly 25 supporters showed up on the first day, and there were even fewer on the second.
Compounded carbon tax
While D’Arcy was focused largely on the job-creation aspect of the clean energy field, many presenters were more focused on the technology and plans for the energy itself.
Chris Rouse, the founder of New Clear Free Solutions, came up with the carbon tax and investment plan the group is promoting.
“First, there’s an economy-wide carbon tax where everybody pays their fair share, $15 to $20 per ton,” he said.
“And instead of subsidizing private industry or using it for general revenue, the money is invested into renewable energy projects.”
He said the plan makes a lot of money out of a small tax because of the compound interest, where the money multiplies as it is continually reinvested into the public companies.
Rouse came up with the plan on his own at home, and while speaking with others, he realized if he used basic economic principles, he could make it work.
Now, he is in the process of getting it modelled more professionally so that he can begin presenting it to the province officially.
“Right now, there is a policy vacuum, both federally and provincially, and all the governments are looking at carbon taxes and different types,” he said.
“So it’s really good timing, I guess, that this is going to be an option on the table.”