Core Principles


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As impacts from global climate change gather force and escalate, a network of partners across the world is looking to secure an effective agreement in Paris, at the end of 2015, to stave off catastrophic climate disruption. The "bundle of everything" strategy for global treaty negotiations has not given us a true global solution. So, Citizens' Climate Lobby is launching an initiative to bring stakeholders into the process of decision-making, build connections between organizations, governments, individuals and enterprise, and mount a coalition effort to secure an agreement to motivate carbon pricing country by country that follows these standards: 

  • A steady, resolute and rising carbon price.
  • Internalizing costs incrementally, steadily and with no leakage.
  • Simple, transparent, effective at reducing emissions.
  • Building economic value at the human scale.
  • Easy to implement: country by country, harmonizing across borders.


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  • Core Principles
  • The U.S. Senate must ratify a new global warming treaty by a two-thirds vote. If the Paris conference creates an agreement that is not a treaty, sixty votes in the Senate would still be needed to pass legislation. President Obama’s proposed regulations would be inadequate. The Economist magazine of June 4th, 2014 says about the regulations:
    “Assuming the plan is carried out (and it will doubtless suffer multiple
    legal challenges), it would reduce total American carbon emissions by
    around 5%. That is a lot for one measure, though tiny compared with the
    overall cuts required to rein in climate change.”
    The U.S. Congress needs to pass global warming legislation in 2015 if the world is to get a new treaty on global warming that is adequate. A new treaty based on President Obama’s proposed regulations would be inadequate. If the Congress were to pass a carbon tax bill, the negotiations leading up to Paris would get a much-needed boost.
    —Milton Takei
  • Letter to PM Stephen Harper – September 16, 2014
    The road to a 2015 global warming agreement in Paris passes through New York City on September 23 at the UN Climate Summit.
    The steep cuts needed on greenhouse gas emissions will require a steadily-rising fee on carbon, which is possible if we give revenue from that fee back to the people.
    In 2010, Canada and the USA signed the weak and non-binding Copenhagen Accord to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, Canada is not on track to meet this international commitment.
    A 2013 Canada2020 climate poll revealed that 76% of Canadians believe Canada should sign an international climate change agreement, even if it means doing so before China and the USA.
    In lieu of an effective and binding global agreement, Canada most certainly can lead by example and also provide the incentive for other nations to follow our lead.
    We don’t need to use cap and trade with offsets. There is a simpler approach: implementing a steadily-rising fee on carbon-based fuels that returns revenue to households. By including border tariffs on goods from nations that lack an equivalent price on carbon, we provide a strong economic incentive for other nations to follow that lead – including our biggest trading partner – the USA.
    The message to other nations would be loud and clear: If your businesses wish to compete in lucrative Canadian markets, you must put a price on carbon.
    As of today, you have indicated you are not going to the Climate Summit. I ask that you reconsider and indicate to other world leaders that Canada is willing to adopt a carbon fee and dividend program.
    Please have a look at the information provided in the information packet at
    I believe it will give you the background to understand that decarbonization will not wreck our economy, but instead will strengthen it.

    Yours truly,
    Michael Jessen
    Citizens Climate Lobby, Nelson Chapter
  • BC carbon tax cut fuel use and did not hurt economy
    Research report asks premiers to discuss carbon tax at summit
    July 23, 2013

    When B.C. Premier Christy Clark sits down with her fellow provincial and territorial leaders Wednesday, she might trumpet her government’s carbon tax success at what many critics said was impossible: reducing fossil fuel consumption without damaging the economy, the author of a new study suggests.
    “You often hear people say you can’t have an healthy environment and a strong economy,” said Stewart Elgie, a University of Ottawa professor of law and economics. “B.C.‘s experience shows that’s not true.”
    Elgie is chair of Sustainable Prosperity, a national network of economics and environment professors funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council.
    Sustainable Prosperity has released a report that shows since the carbon tax shift was introduced in 2008, B.C.‘s consumption of fossil fuels has been reduced nearly 19 per cent per capita compared to the rest of Canada, while the province’s gross domestic product has kept pace with the country’s.
    The report is the basis of an article to be published in the next edition of the journal Canadian Public Policy. Elgie said the group wanted to get the results out now so it can inform the environmental strategy discussions at the premiers’ summit starting Wednesday in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.
    The key to the B.C. carbon tax shift’s success, Elgie said, is that it while taxes went up on fossil fuel use, income taxes were reduced, so it discourages pollution while encouraging employment and investment.
    Elgie said economists would predict the policy to work as it has.
    “B.C. just had the guts to try it. And it’s working.”
    Elgie admits that with only four years of data, he can’t say for certain the changes in fossil fuel use in B.C. are entirely attributable to the carbon tax, but he’s confident most of them are.
    The rest of Canada’s premiers should consider following B.C.’s lead, Elgie argues. Alberta and Quebec also have carbon taxes.
    Even provinces where the impact of taxing carbon would be felt more keenly — such as Ontario, which still relies in part on coal for electricity generation — the benefits of offsetting that with income tax reductions would be a greater relief.

    No carbon tax rise, despite program’s success
    B.C. Minister of Environment Mary Polak says her government will stick to its promise to freeze the carbon tax for the next five years, despite a new study which finds it is reducing emissions.
    The study from the University of Ottawa concluded that since B.C. introduced the carbon tax shift in 2008, the province’s consumption of fossil fuels reduced nearly 19 per cent per capita compared to the rest of Canada.
    Meanwhile British Columbia’s gross domestic product has kept pace with that of the whole country.
    • Read more about the study
    • Read about the promise to freeze the tax
    The study’s co-author Stewart Elgie said this proves the B.C.‘s carbon tax is working to reduce emissions, without hurting the provincial economy.
    Green MLA and climate scientist Andrew Weaver believes given those results, the province should increase the tax to encourage even more carbon reduction.
    “Without any doubt, the higher the carbon tax, the greater the impact,” says Weaver.
    But Minister Polak says increasing the tax more would put B.C. at a competitive disadvantage.
    “There’s concern that if we ratchet it up too high, while other jurisdictions don’t have one, it could put us at a disadvantage."
    Polak says she will be lobbying other jurisdictions to introduce their own carbon tax.
    Weaver says he’d be pleased to help her achieve that goal.