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?