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The Ignorance of Cyclists Supporting a Carbon Tax

November 2015

I read a post this morning written by a cycling friend.  He is a true granola crunching, cycling instead of driving, “what are you doing about your carbon footprint” cyclist… They’re looking at a carbon tax in his home Country, and he makes it sound as if he would escape much of the tax because he commutes to work on a bike.

Unfortunately he’s looking at this whole thing as a citizen, not a politician.

Allow me to explain how this whole mess works, start to finish.

See, first, this whole notion of a carbon tax starts off as a conversational topic to separate people. The aloof people who care, opposed to those little people who aren’t smart enough to get it. Foodies are the same… “Oh, you’d be NON-GMO too, if you really knew what was going on.” All the while, science clearly shows that GMO foods are clearly less obtrusive than cross-breeding. Still, good luck convincing the true believers of this (same thing with immunizations btw) but I digress…

From there, the politicians get a hold of it and turn it into a tax on businesses and abusers and the do-gooder can rejoice for saving the universe. The businesses really don’t care too much because they work the cost into the price of everything they make but they also figure out how to exploit loopholes.

The politicians spend the money before it rolls in because they have smart people crunch the numbers so they know exactly how much is going to come in. These smart people fail, however, to take into account that businesses aren’t run by stupid people either, so when those loopholes are exploited, the government’s take comes up shy of target… That’s when the government turns to the average working stiff. See, all tax collectors and politicians know that average people go to Bob’s tax service to get their taxes done. They don’t have lawyers and teams of people leveraging the system. The average guy (or woman, of course) is easy money.

The politicians go after cars first, and the count up the Billions. They cover their shortfall and spend the rest. Everything is wonderful. So wonderful, the politicians spend the money a decade out… Meanwhile the people switch to bicycles and revenue plummets.

The world is saved, right?!

Wrong. Government can only expand, otherwise your hurting babies and helpless women, so they go after cyclists because they’re pumping out carbon too, in the form of CO2.

All of a sudden, mister fancy pants cyclist starts getting hammered for riding that extra 30 km on the way home from work because he’s pumping out extra CO2. His carbon footprint is 150 km a week, plus leisure rides on the weenend, over what politicians deem necessary.

Mister fancy pants is no dummy though, he’s not paying. See, the cycling tax is calculated on a cell phone app, so he just rides home and leaves his phone there so he can turn out some free miles. Politicians, who already counted and spent the money, get wind of the no good, dirty, rotten tax cheats so they make every new bike off the line be fitted with a GPS device that tracks mileage for taxation. They require a retrofit device be placed on all old bikes and the police are given devices that check to make sure your bike has its legal GPS chip… It’s for your safety, see? Those chips are also seen by computers in all vehicles so we never have to have bicycle accidents again.

Mister fancy pants sends out his $90 a month in additional taxes to save the world. At least he can take solace in that.

He still takes out his bootleg mountain bike from time to time, a 2015 Stumpjumper from a long-lost day when he could exercise in freedom and peace… without big brother looking over his shoulder.

Ah well, freedom is never really free. Mister fancy pants was a part of a movement to save the world. At least he can take solace in that.


  1. Dan says:

    Let’s not forget the ignorance (read politicized) in the concept of global warming to begin with. We are basing entire budgets and world wide policies based on politics rather than science.

  2. OmniRunner says:

    I think the idea of the carbon tax is to get businesses to change their behavior so they will avoid the tax.

  3. PedalWORKS says:

    At first I was offended but then saw the humour in your post.

    However, you are mistaken about the BC carbon tax which was first implemented in 2008. It is revenue-neutral and none of the carbon tax revenue is used to fund government spending. Further, everyone and every business is taxed but low income earners are subject to a tax credit.

    BC continues to be a leader in climate action by having a carbon tax. The initial tax rate was relatively low and has increased gradually to allow families and businesses time to reduce their emissions. The tax is also intentionally broadly based and paid by all those who consume fossil fuels in the province.

    Is the tax working? I think so. Certainly other governments are watching closely. For certain, the tax has spawned a spirited discussion here. The transitioning away from fossil fuels is inevitable and I have seen a significant shift in attitude here.

    What matters is how the tax is implemented.

  4. Sandra says:

    Hmm. I miss your real posts about rides and training and how proud you are of your kids.

  5. Very few of those “granola crunching, cycling instead of driving” folks have ever had to meet a payroll — which explains their total lack of understanding when it comes to economic matters.

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