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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Richest 10% create bigger ecological footprint

June 24, 2008 | National Office | Topic(s): Environment & sustainability, Inequality & poverty | Publication Type: Press Release | Research Desk: Inequality Project

TORONTO – The richest 10 percent of Canadians create a bigger ecological footprint – a whopping 66 percent higher – than the average Canadian household, says a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

The study, Size Matters: Canada’s Ecological Footprint, By Income, is the first Canadian study to link national income and consumption patterns with global warming.

“When we look at where the environmental impact of human activity comes from, we see that size really does matter,” says Hugh Mackenzie, CCPA research associate. “Higher-income Canadians create a much bigger footprint than poorer Canadians.”

Among the study’s findings:

* The richest 10% of Canadian households create an ecological footprint of 12.4 hectares per capita – nearly two-and-a-half times that of the poorest 10%.
* While the size of an individual’s ecological footprint increases as household income increases, the real jump is at that top 10% level. When it comes to environmental impact, it really is a case of the rich and the rest of us.
* The bottom 60% of Canadian households’ ecological footprint is below the national average but even the lowest-income Canadians create an ecological footprint that is several times the average for those in poorer nations.

“All Canadians share responsibility for global warming,” says co-author Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence. “But wealthier Canadians are leaving behind a disproportionately larger footprint – and should be expected to make a disproportionate contribution to its reduction.”

Mackenzie says the study contains lessons for policy makers: “Clearly ecological impact is stongly related to income. Greenhouse gas emissions policies should reflect that reality or risk being less effective and unfair to low- and middle-class Canadians.”

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Size Matters: Canada’s Ecological Footprint, By Income is available from the CCPA web site at http://www.policyalternatives.ca


For information, please contact Trish Hennessy at (416) 263-9896.
Source: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/News/2008/06/PressRelease1909/index.cfm?pa=BB736455

The idea of individual caps have been batted around, and that just may be the best way to handle it. Individual and corporate cap and trade. At the very least, those in the top 10% of income earners will have to purchase credits from the poor that can't afford to burn as much fuel.
 

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I don't see how this article shows that a broad based tax wouldn't work? Doesn't this article show us that a broad based tax would end up taxing those that have the most ability to pay, rich people, and thus would 'work' in the way that those who can most afford to pay (and deserve to pay because of their footprint size) will be paying the most by far?
 

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Well under the Green Party plan income tax decreases for people and corporations would offset this, so we wouldn't be paying more, we'd just get nudged to more environmentally sound solutions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I don't see how this article shows that a broad based tax wouldn't work? Doesn't this article show us that a broad based tax would end up taxing those that have the most ability to pay, rich people, and thus would 'work' in the way that those who can most afford to pay (and deserve to pay because of their footprint size) will be paying the most by far?
Not at all, this will effect those least able to support it. That and the fact that those with the most money that are doing the most polluting will get income and corporate tax break, as pointed out. They also have the ability to absorb the minuscule costs and continue polluting. If the price of gas rising by 10 times the carbon tax in the last year without making a dent in consumption. Why would a 2 cent carbon tax effect it?
 

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Cumulatively it will work with rising market values to push for change in the market expectations and desires. Sprawl will be passe since no one can afford it. That rowhouse with the cute little yard that is walking, biking, busing distance to ___ will be eyed very differently. The cost of local food will creep closer to food shipped in from 1/2 across the continent. Lifestyles will change.

IMHO The pity is that now we have seen that the market *has* been able to absorb the 20 cent oil industry hike, that no one had the guts to pitch a 10 cent gas tax before this happened. Think of all the extra money that could have been kicking around for better transit?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Cumulatively it will work with rising market values to push for change in the market expectations and desires. Sprawl will be passe since no one can afford it. That rowhouse with the cute little yard that is walking, biking, busing distance to ___ will be eyed very differently. The cost of local food will creep closer to food shipped in from 1/2 across the continent. Lifestyles will change.

IMHO The pity is that now we have seen that the market *has* been able to absorb the 20 cent oil industry hike, that no one had the guts to pitch a 10 cent gas tax before this happened. Think of all the extra money that could have been kicking around for better transit?
Better transit. better roads, programs for retrofitting. Some studies state that we could reduce emissions by over 30% by retrofitting all buildings to today's standards.
 

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And we could provide subsidies for that retrofitting by instituting a carbon tax! GREAT IDEA!!

That's called "The Green Party".
Call it was you like, but I call it "actually giving people a hope in hell of still getting around when they are priced out of driving by the **market** cost of fuel".

The tax isn't going to push them out of cars, the market cost will.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Call it was you like, but I call it "actually giving people a hope in hell of still getting around when they are priced out of driving by the **market** cost of fuel".

The tax isn't going to push them out of cars, the market cost will.
And that is why efficiency is the way to both reduce emissions and costs.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
No, it will be a tax shift. Income taxes will be cut and a carbon tax will be instituted.
I thought you said, it would be invested in retrofits?

Shifting is a shell game, and in the end this shifts it all on the middle class and poor, when the majority of emissions come from the top 10% income earners. Not very progressive, more Friedman economics then anything.
 

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I've got an idea that the Conservatives would LOVE.

Lets do NOTHING!

Why reduce pollution?


Milk all the profits while you can and retire rich.

This is exactly what all the executives are doing.

Leave the problem for someone else.
 

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I thought you said, it would be invested in retrofits?

Shifting is a shell game, and in the end this shifts it all on the middle class and poor, when the majority of emissions come from the top 10% income earners. Not very progressive, more Friedman economics then anything.
... living in Kamloops - you would know nothing about air pollution.

The poor and the middle class are already paying for it. It's called pollution - and use east of Alberta are paying for it with our health.
 

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And that is why efficiency is the way to both reduce emissions and costs.
No you are twisting what I said. Ultimatly the market will cause the lions share of changes in driving habits, what I mean to say is that a comparitively minor tax can be absorbed by those who are willing to pay the market price, yet have huge benefits for those who end up relying on transit.

For example: If the cost of gasoline goes up $1.00 per L, and there are still people out there willing to pay it, chances are high an extra 10 cent tax won't deter them. BUT that 10 cent tax (put towards transit) will make a world of difference to the *many* who by then will be relying on transit as a principal mode of mobility.
 

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No you are twisting what I said. Ultimatly the market will cause the lions share of changes in driving habits, what I mean to say is that a comparitively minor tax can be absorbed by those who are willing to pay the market price, yet have huge benefits for those who end up relying on transit.

For example: If the cost of gasoline goes up $1.00 per L, and there are still people out there willing to pay it, chances are high an extra 10 cent tax won't deter them. BUT that 10 cent tax (put towards transit) will make a world of difference to the *many* who by then will be relying on transit as a principal mode of mobility.

... exactly... the problem is we lack reinvestment at the Federal level into new transit projects.

New transit should never stop, but the problem is that we build a new streetcar line - then do nothing for 20 years.

We need never ending continual reinvestment in our transit systems.

And yes that involves tax money.

You get what you pay for.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No you are twisting what I said. Ultimatly the market will cause the lions share of changes in driving habits, what I mean to say is that a comparitively minor tax can be absorbed by those who are willing to pay the market price, yet have huge benefits for those who end up relying on transit.

For example: If the cost of gasoline goes up $1.00 per L, and there are still people out there willing to pay it, chances are high an extra 10 cent tax won't deter them. BUT that 10 cent tax (put towards transit) will make a world of difference to the *many* who by then will be relying on transit as a principal mode of mobility.
Except transit will be paying this tax, so transit costs will increase. Just exempting transit systems would help allot.

My understanding is that those that can't afford to drive can barely afford the bus. Now, do you think that the transit companies will just eat the extra cost? Is it enough cost to increase ridership?

Currently, the savings are minimal from driving to riding transit on a monthly basis for most. I don't think this is big enough to accelerate. or effect in any manner, the change. However, I do agree that the revenues have been applied improperly.
 

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And what's wrong with taxes?

Unlike money that goes to Esso or Wal-Mart - taxes remain in Canada. Taxes are reinvested in our country.

Lower Taxes will NOT make you happier.
 
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