Ignore pinch of carbon tax for long-term benefits

I WAS disheartened to learn that, despite the majority being "very concerned" about climate change, only a minority was supportive of a carbon tax ("Very concerned? Yes. Carbon tax? No"; June 9).

The poor response in the global survey reflected, first, that while most people recognise the need to halt climate change, they are unable to reach a consensus on measures that should be taken.

Second, they are reluctant to sacrifice their material comforts to contribute their part in limiting the effects of climate change.

Some may regard the carbon tax as ineffective in curbing global warming and believe that it may affect the national economy adversely because of the increased price of fossil fuels.

Indeed, in the short term, there may be a negative impact on the economy. However, a carbon tax encourages companies to invest in carbon-reducing alternatives. This means that in the long term, it is beneficial to the economy and helps to halt climate change.

Individuals and companies will feel the pinch of carbon tax, but the consequences of not acting now will be more far-reaching and devastating.

While the effects of climate change may not be apparent to some of us, it is certainly a life-and-death issue.

The adverse effects can already be seen in other parts of the world, with people dying from drought, heatwaves and cold snaps.

The longer we drag out the issue, the more harm we do to the environment.

Lam Wai Ni (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 23, 2015, with the headline 'Ignore pinch of carbon tax for long-term benefits'. Print Edition | Subscribe