Carbon tax or cap-and-trade?

We hear the terms “carbon tax” and “cap-and-trade” quite a lot these days, but what exactly do they mean?

In a nutshell, a carbon tax is a fee placed on greenhouse gas pollution resulting mainly from burning fossil fuels. It is one of the most powerful incentives governments have to discourage industries and households from emitting greenhouse gases.  In so doing, governments encourage greener technologies and practices.  In Canada, B.C. and Quebec use carbon taxes to reduce emissions.

In a cap-and-trade system, governments put a firm limit, or cap, on the level  of carbon pollution by industry and reduce that cap each year until they reach a set pollution target.  Companies thus have a real incentive to adopt greener technologies and support clean energy.  For example, since the early 1980s, cap-and-trade has reduced acid rain-forming emissions by nearly half.

To learn more about them, click here.

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For a timely discussion on energy and ecology, take a look at one of our library’s books entitled Life without oil : why we must shift to a new energy future by Steve Hallett.  He offers a realistic vision of the near future and many important lessons about the limits of our resources.     363.7571 H186

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Waste-free lunches

Packing waste-free lunches is something many of us are already doing, either for ourselves or for our children, and it’s a great idea.  Not only do we cut back on wasteful throw-away packaging, waste-free lunches tend to be more nutritious and less expensive.  Here are a few easy tips for sustainable lunches:

  • Use lunch carriers, bottles and containers that you can reuse.
  • Include items that come with their own packaging, such as oranges, bananas, and hard-boiled eggs.
  • Prepare extra food the day before and use the leftovers for lunches (who doesn’t love leftovers?).
  • If you’re going out for lunch, bring along your own reusable container to bring home any leftover food.

Check Waste Reduction Week in Canada and the  Semaine québécoise de réduction des déchets for good ideas on waste reduction.  And for some practical ideas on how to start a waste-free lunch program at your school or place of employment, click here.

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For more practical tips on sustainable living, have a look at Do one green thing : save the earth through simple everyday choices by Mindy Pennybacker.                         640 P416

Reduce your carbon-footprint and benefit yourself, your family and your community.                       Bon appetit!