Canadian Biomass Magazine

Cycle for the climate

February 12, 2015
By Amie Silverwood

Feb. 12, 2015 - Two Clearwater, B.C. residents plan to cycle from Toronto to Ottawa to promote a Care2 petition to implement a carbon fee-and-dividend program.

Keith McNeill started working to fight climate change years ago, when the child of a family member cried himself to sleep after watching a documentary on the subject. Now, McNeill is taking his fight nationwide. He launched a Care2 petition asking Canadian leaders to hold a referendum on a national carbon fee-and-dividend program.

The Care2 petition has more than 27,000 signatures, but McNeill says that is not enough. McNeill and his friend, Jean Nelson, are planning a 270-mile bike ride from Toronto to Ottawa to promote the cause this summer.

“Climate scientists say a carbon fee-and-dividend system would be the best first step to reduce the likelihood of catastrophic climate change,” says McNeill. “The use of fossil fuels will continue to rise as long as they remain artificially cheap. I believe this issue deserves a national debate.”

McNeill, age 65, is the editor of the prize-winning Clearwater-North Thompson Times newspaper. Nelson, a grandmother of 80 years old, is a former Ms. Chatelaine (an honor she shares with such notables as K.D. Lang) and a former chair of the local school board.


The fee-and-dividend program would implement a fee on the production of fossil fuels at the mine or wellhead, in a manner similar to a carbon tax. Unlike a carbon tax, however, the money would not go into government general revenues but would be redistributed to the public in equal and repeating dividends.

“British Columbia has a carbon tax that presently stands at $30 per tonne of carbon dioxide,” McNeill writes on the Care2 petition. “A [national] carbon fee-and-dividend system set at the same level as British Columbia’s carbon tax of $30 per tonne would generate about $20 billion per year, enough to give every adult in Canada a fossil fuel dividend close to $1,000 per year.”

McNeill and Nelson plan to do a “Carbon Cycle” to promote their ideas for a healthy planet. The two will cycle from Toronto to Ottawa (about 450 km, or 270 miles) from May 22 to June 2. They plan to arrive in Ottawa on Parliament Hill during Environment Week to take part in events held by Citizens’ Climate Lobby – Canada. View the Care2 petition here.

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