Did you ever wonder what a significant carbon tax would do to Northern Ontario? It isn’t too complicated. There will be effects on what we sell and on what we buy.
We sell wood. Wood “sequesters” a lot of carbon. A lot of wood will be needed to replace concrete all over the world because concrete production releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide and uses a huge amount of natural gas. We will have a lot of dying trees to get rid of as a result of climate change, so our forestry sector wins big in the long run. If we move into cross-laminated timber (Hey Mr, Gravelle! are you listening?) we do even better, because we are adding value to the wood.
Base metals are another win. It takes a lot of energy to produce Iron or nickel, but these metals go into products that are used again and again. They are actually very energy efficient AND they can be recycled. Furthermore, the technology is already available to produce them without fossil fuels. The transition will take time,but it is coming.
The rare earths will get more valuable. They are needed for all the magnets, motors and electronics, specialized material and batteries that are needed to cut energy consumption. We have rare earths. More jobs.
If we can become major suppliers of energy efficient equipment for the mining industry around the world, we will do even better.
We don’t produce fossil fuels, so we dodge that bullet.
On the cost side, fuels and food will cost more. Ironically, most northerners spend less time commuting than their Toronto counterparts, so the “carbon dividend” may actually more than pay for the increased fuel costs. Northern Ontario also has more rivers per capita and more land for bio-fuels, solar arrays and windmills, so we can shift to heat and power sources that avoid the carbon taxes. Increasing fuel costs for industry will be offset by increasing prices for their products, and they will shift to carbon-free energy over time.
Put it all together and I think Northern Ontario wins when we move away from fossil fuels. Maybe I should say wins more than most regions, because the transitions is going to cut costs and give us new technologies to improve our lives no matter where we live.