Friday, April 01, 2016

British Columbia’s Carbon Tax Has Been So Successful that Businesses Want to Increase It

Smokestacks (Credit: AP Photo/Charlie Riedel) Click to Enlarge.
A carbon tax may be a controversial topic in the United States, but in one Canadian province, this six-year-old policy has been such a success that on Wednesday more than 100 businesses said they support a tax increase.

In a letter addressed to Premier Christy Clark, who governs the province of British Columbia, more than 150 companies said they back a plan to increase the carbon tax by $10 — about $7.70 U.S. — per metric ton a year starting in July 2018, an idea the government-sponsored Climate Leadership Team unveiled earlier this year.

Since 2007 British Columbia has been setting greenhouse gas reduction targets based on findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s most respected authority on the subject. Four years after introducing the first carbon tax in North America in 2008, British Columbia froze the tax rates at 2012 levels to allow other provinces to catch up. However, that freeze could be lifted under a new Climate Leadership Plan that could be approved this spring.

The proposed plan includes myriad recommendations, like reducing emissions in the so-called built environment, industry, and transportation sectors by 40 percent compared to 2007 levels. Yet among the 32 recommendations, raising the carbon tax could be the most salient to the public as it affects everyone. It also brings direct monetary benefits, since the carbon tax is revenue neutral — meaning every dollar generated goes back to the public through reductions in other taxes. So the extra money that British Columbians pay for gas, for instance, is offset by a tax refund elsewhere.

Although it’s received some criticism, the carbon tax has been widely deemed a success by the government, nonprofits, and academics. Studies have found that the carbon tax reduced fuel usage by at least 16 percent, and that emissions have fallen 3.5 times faster per capita than the rest of the country. The tax has also created negligible impacts on the economy. In fact, British Columbia’s economic growth rebounded at the same rate as the rest of the country following the recession.

Read more at British Columbia’s Carbon Tax Has Been So Successful that Businesses Want to Increase It

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