Former Times editor promotes global carbon petition

Editor, The Times:

Readers of the Times might have seen posts I made on social media regarding an online petition I have started recently to help control climate change.

Several people said they were dismayed by the strong language used in the some of the comments against the petition.

“I found it disheartening (to put it mildly) the vitriol that people are spewing,” one told me.

I try to remember that people are becoming frightened by climate change as the evidence mounts that it is actually occurring. As a result, some are becoming angry. Unfortunately, at least a few of them are directing their anger in the wrong direction.

I remember quite clearly the first time I saw the graph showing the amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere as measured at the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii.

That was back in the early 1970s and the measurement would have been around 330 parts per million (ppm), far less than the 410-ppm we have today.

Although measurements at Mauna Loa had only begun in the late 1950s, the steadily rising curve was already quite clear.

I remember thinking, “If this graph means what it appears to, then the only way to control it would be by putting a high price on fossil fuels worldwide.”

Later I learned about carbon taxes and decided they would be the best way to put a higher price on fossil fuels.

Giving the money back to everyone as equal dividends or rebates seemed like the simplest and most transparent way.

Transferring such a huge amount of money around the world would require reform of the United Nations.

In 1987 and 1989 I walked from Clearwater to Toronto as part of a planned round-the-world pilgrimage to honour Mahatma Gandhi and to promote a petition that called for United Nations reform.

In 2014 I posted an online petition that called for a worldwide referendum on a global carbon fee-and-dividend.

The following year I started another online petition, this time calling for carbon fee-and-dividend in Canada.

That same year long-time local resident Jean Nelson and I cycled from Toronto to Ottawa, where we participated in a Citizens Climate Lobby conference to push for carbon fee-and-dividend in Canada.

Last December several local residents staged a “Yellow Vest” demonstration on the roundabout on Highway 5 in Clearwater.

I was a bit put out as Jean and I had worn yellow vests during our bike ride to Ottawa, but we had been calling for carbon fee-and-dividend in Canada. The local protesters were calling for the end of the carbon tax.

I felt the other protesters were right in principle but mistaken in how they went about achieving their goals.

During my alternative demonstration I collected a few names for my old petition. However, Canada will be getting carbon fee-and-dividend this year (or at least four provinces will) and so holding a referendum on it would be redundant.

We still need global carbon fee-and-dividend, however. Anything less will be doomed to fail.

I therefore re-wrote my earlier petition and posted it on Avaaz.

If you want to add your name to it, go to: https://tinyurl.com/GlobalCarbonPetition

Keith McNeill,

Clearwater, B.C.

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