Climate change not only impacts our health when we inhale polluted air or when we suffer flooding events and vector-borne diseases, but it also has adverse economic effects. The immediate impact that comes to mind is what damaged infrastructures, due to a flooding event, cost for governments at different levels, or an extra load on our health system, due to diseases. However, there are some other costs.
Canada, like several other countries, uses a carbon tax system to reduce harmful emissions. The carbon tax is a mechanism to make pollutants financially responsible. And, this pollution has a broad meaning. It includes individuals as well as industries. Under the carbon tax regulations – depending on the province – filling up our car and heating our home cost us more regardless of gas and propane prices, respectively. To put it simply, the government is planning to gradually increase the carbon tax to 170$ per tonne of emissions in 2030. Each liter of gas burned in our cars emits 2.3 kg of carbon dioxide. If the car tank capacity is 50 liters, the carbon tax will be nearly 20$ per filling up in 2030. For a pickup that travels in northern Ontario that can be a great deal of fuel cost in a year. The gradually increasing trend of gas and tempting incentives paid by the government for hybrid and electric cars (perhaps funded by the same carbon tax program) might be encouraging to move to hybrid or electric cars in the future.
The other financial impact of climate change is, actually, directly tied to the oil industry. Massive investments in the oil industry make it hardly possible to suddenly shift away from gas to electric cars or renewable sources. Many families financially depend on this industry. In many countries, including in Canada, there are still serious debates about new investments in the fossil fuels sector. There are debates because the oil industry still finds it profitable to invest despite the carbon tax and other limiting environmental regulations. Therefore, policies at a high level are still required to switch to cleaner energies at a reasonably faster pace. However, regardless of the political intervention in this process, our responsibility and commitment can greatly contribute to the fight against climate change.