B.C. Climate Action Dividend


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Since I filed my 2006 taxes in British Columbia, I was eligable for the $100 Climate Action Dividend that accompanies their new carbon tax. It was an unexpected thing to receive, since I have been a legal resident of Ontario for almost a year, but welcome nonetheless.

The question is: how could I spend $100 in a way that would yield the most climatic benefits?

  • Transport: I don’t drive and am trying to avoid flying to the greatest possible extent. Within the Ottawa-Montreal-Toronto area, I travel by bus, train, and bicycle almost exclusively. There don’t seem to be too many opportunities here.
  • Home: I have been replacing light bulbs with compact fluorescents as they burn out, but could take the plunge and replace them all at once. The oil furnace and poor insulation in my flat are big problems, but they are the property of my landlord and cannot be meaningfully improved for $100 anyhow. I suppose I could offer to contribute towards an efficiency improvement of some kind.
  • Food: I am already a vegetarian, but spending the $100 on local organic produce would probably have some small carbon impact. That said, it is possible that the net carbon impacts of local food in this area are actually greater than those for some imported choices. Food calculations are very tricky.
  • Carbon offsets: For C$100, I can buy about 8.3 tonnes worth of offsets from Native Energy. They offer methane capture offsets, which are much more credible than forestry offsets, but there will always be questions about whether the gasses were captured specifically because of your payment, or whether the capture would have happened anyhow.
  • Donations: I could give some or all of the money to a political or non-governmental group that is having a positive impact on climate policy.
  • Books: While buying books about climate change science and policy will not directly lower my emissions, they may help put me in a better position to help aid the transition to a low-carbon society.

Do people have any other ideas?

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Emily July 4, 2008 at 10:02 pm

You could also look into investing some or all of your $$$ in renewable energy, such as solar:


* Sunpower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR), the Cypress Semiconductor Corporation (NYSE: CY) spin off, makes semiconductors for solar cells and solar panels
* MEMC Electronic Materials Inc (NYSE: WFR) makes the polysilicon that is needed to manufacture the solar cells and panels based on semiconductor technology
* Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE: STP), First Solar Inc (NASDAQ: FSLR), Canadian Solar Inc (NASDAQ: CSIQ) and Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL) were other stocks mentioned.

Emily July 4, 2008 at 10:08 pm

You could also put it towards a more energy efficient lap-top. The University of Pennsylvania did a short survey on the amount of energy (measured in watts) that specific makes and models of desktop computers and laptops use:


Emily July 4, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Partially related.. But totally insane and inexplicable. And sexy!


Litty July 4, 2008 at 11:06 pm

You do enough for the climate.

Spend the money on something fun.

Sarah July 6, 2008 at 1:02 pm

I broadly agree with the previous comment. Failing that, you could choose to buy more environmentally friendly clothing & put the cash towards that – eg. organic cotton instead of regular cotton, lovely wool socks or thermal undies instead of smelly ones made of plastic etc. There’s an extra bonus here, insofar as having really good gear makes walking and cycling reasonably pleasurable in weather that would once have sent you bus-wards.

Alena Prazak July 6, 2008 at 10:59 pm

How about sending a child to a nature camp?

Alena Prazak July 6, 2008 at 11:01 pm

How about sending a child to a camp in nature?

Padraic July 7, 2008 at 8:35 am

I would donate the money to the Green Shift. I’ve never been a fan of the Liberals, but I am excited enough by this policy to give up my time, money and vote. All your virtuous action will be meaningless if we don’t have binding policies!

Milan July 10, 2008 at 10:24 am

I am spending about 1/3 of it on dimmable compact fluorescent bulbs.

The rest, I have not decided about.

. July 24, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Now here’s the $440 million question: How much of it will actually go from peoples’ pocket to “climate action,” and how much towards beer, pizza or other every-day consumerism? (And oh yes, there are so many other questions, like how many social housing units could it build, how many buses could it buy?)

anita September 2, 2008 at 10:04 am

Hi, I was in the same situation as you….lived in BC until December of 2007, so I received a 100 dollar cheque too. Today, I received a bill for the 100 dollars back because they changed the year of eligibility to 2007. Hope you saved your 100 because you will be getting a bill to pay it back too.

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