August 3, 2016
Hon. Glenn Thibeault
Minister of Energy
Hearst Block 4th Flr,
900 Bay St,
Toronto, ON M7A 2E1
I am writing you to express my disagreement with the decision by the Ontario Energy Board yesterday regarding the line itemization of the cost of the province’s cap and trade program. The various reasons raised through the OEB, including the potential for increased customer complaints at their customer service centre, are simply insufficient rationale for denying customers crucial information.
The debate around carbon pricing is a debate about reducing consumption – we would like people to use less carbon. The only way we can effectively do this is to give people information about how much they’re paying, how much they’re consuming and then empower them to reduce their consumption. It is impossible for that public policy goal to be achieved if individuals are intentionally kept in the dark.
Professor Robert H. Frank of Cornell University reminds us “Once people have to pay for their emissions, they find ingenious ways of reducing them.” If the stated public policy goal is to actually help the climate, and not simply remit as much revenue as possible to the government, then it is essential that people are aware how much they are paying under cap and trade.
I was reminded by your predecessor on May 16th of this year that the Minister is able to do this through Ministerial Directive and that those directives are often done at the request of Opposition Members. It is my belief that, if our goal is to actually bring emissions down rather than to simply collect a vast amount of revenue for the government, people must know what their cap and trade cost is.
Todd Smith, MPP