23 October 2013

B.C. 's "textbook example" of good climate policy

High praise indeed from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In a recent speech, OECD Secretary-General Angel GurrĂ­a praised B.C.’s carbon tax as being “as close to a textbook example as we have."

The praise is well deserved. A paper published in the journal Canadian Public Policy by two members of the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Law indicated that four years after the tax was introduced in 2008, British Columbia’s per capita consumption of fuels subject to the tax declined by 19 per cent compared to the rest of Canada while at the same time B.C.'s economy kept pace with the rest of the country. Furthermore, the paper reported, "Due to the tax shift, British Columbia households and businesses now pay the lowest income taxes in Canada and use the least amount of fuel per capita of any Canadian province."

Covering roughly three-quarters of B.C.’s carbon emissions, the tax is a key component of the province's climate policy. Whatever sins the province has on the environmental front, and it has a few, it deserves full credit for its carbon tax.

Meanwhile, despite its success in B.C., the federal government continues to attack carbon taxes with, as a Pembina Institute article put it, rhetoric "that has become completely unhinged from reality."

Somehow we have to get past our unhinged government and put a national carbon tax back on the table. As Secretary-General Gurria has said, "Without placing a clear and explicit price on emissions we are, as they say, just ‘pushing at a piece of string’ when it comes to changing consumer, producer and investor behaviour.”

1 comment:

  1. Hi Bill,

    Nice to see another Calgarian sees the value of BC's carbon tax. I've long been concerned about climate change and I've long thought that a well-designed carbon tax is the best tool we've got to address it, while also encouraging local jobs, local food production, local manufacturing. But I'm just one guy in Calgary, with no letters behind my name.

    So I started this website with an anonymous online survey in an effort to gather and to show Canadian opinions on climate change and carbon taxes. The larger a word appears in one of the six word clouds, the more often it has been used in the responses. With 400 entries, some themes are starting to emerge.