Dear Editor:

I’m fearful these days. I walk through the day and week with grim thoughts. I’m a happily married senior. My daily functioning is fine.

But I’m oppressed by fear. Not anxiety — fear.

What strikes fear in my heart is not the state of international politics, dire as that may be. It’s climate change. Every day we hear of extreme weather events. The planet is warming faster than predicted. The Paris climate-change agreement may fail to meet its targets. We are sliding into a world spun out of control by fires and floods and famine.

Yet we seem strangely complacent.

Most of my friends are small-C conservatives. They are decent and honest and educated. But, I hear them saying things that make no sense to me.

They say that Canada produces only 2% of the world’s pollution, so there’s no point in us taking action. What happened to the idea that Canada should provide badly- needed leadership on important international issues?

Another thing I hear from friends is that the impending carbon tax is too small to make a difference: “If it’s not a huge tax, there’s no point.”

The upshot — Don’t bother with the tax. But, any action on climate change is of value. When six people are caught in a house fire, do we say, “I can’t rescue more than one or two, so why bother?”

The value of a carbon tax is endorsed by economists, who refer to the “law of demand.” Taxing pollution will reduce demand, just as taxes on cigarettes reduce demand. As for starting small, that gives consumers time to adjust. And the government that wants a carbon tax is also taking other measures to reduce emissions.

The two arguments I’ve given started as big-C Conservative talking points. It’s Conservatives who say that our carbon emissions are too small to require drastic action. It’s Conservatives who urge us to see that a tax on carbon won’t work, even though it has worked in British Columbia. Why not vote Conservative if climate change isn’t all that bad or all that urgent?

But why are so many people reciting these lines? Can’t Canadian voters formulate their own thoughts? Do Canadians not see that climate change is an international emergency and requires action now, not later?

We are sliding into a world spun out of control by fires and floods and famine.

Yet we seem strangely complacent.