TO350 member Natasha Bartels and her father, Dennis Bartels, were among the first to start talking about and researching the concept of a war level effort applied to climate change, including taxing the ultra-rich. They were quoted in an article by Sarah Berman in Vice, a way back now, in November 2019 called "We Need to Tax the Super-Rich to Save the World." It is just as pertinent, if not more so now, to consider tackling climate change as a war-level threat, as we enter 2021 with the knowledge that 2020 tied for the hottest year on record. To quote the article....
"Now that scientific consensus says Canada is facing another terrifying global emergency, ie. climate change, there are experts who say we need more than a carbon tax to bring down emissions on an urgent schedule. Dennis Bartels, one of the first-ever researchers to look at the WWII model for climate change mobilization, believes a wealth tax absolutely needs to be part of Canada’s plan to decarbonize its economy.
Bartels and his daughter Natasha, who teaches high school history, reached out to me earlier this month with more lessons from Canada’s most radical economic experiment. They reminded me that the war effort also included providing housing and childcare for workers in new industries, and a focus on local food production.
But the biggest takeaway was that turning an economy on its head required the rich to pitch in more than the rest of us. This is how the country launched 28 new Crown corporations, including resource and energy companies, and remade our education and food systems to fit a new reality.
In the United States, where climate change and wealth taxation are more readily linked by mainstream politicians, multiple candidates are talking about a tax on billionaires. But here in Canada, where we’ve already got a carbon tax on the go, the climate discussion has mostly shied away from bold progressive income tax.
“What’s going on here is a carbon tax discussion,” Natasha said by phone. “I’m not hearing about just straight-up making the wealthy pay the money.”....
To be fair, the Bartels don’t seem to be interested in writing cheques for white middle class homeowners, either. The main thrust of ambitious plans like the U.S. Green New Deal is to redirect resources to historically underserved front-line communities—to invest in people who need it first.
Climate change disproportionately affects Indigenous people and people of colour, especially in Canada’s north. One of the examples Bartels gives for projects to reproduce across the country is the Kiashke Zaaging Anishinaabek/Gull Bay First Nation’s solar-powered electricity micro-grid, which replaced the community’s carbon-intensive diesel generators this year."
Read the article for the full story! Here is the link to it again: "We Need to Tax the Super-Rich to Save the World."
Also, check out Seth Klein's "A Good War," when you get the chance!