By Sue Cairns, Cranbrook, and
Judeth Betts, Nelson
This current decade is the defining one as we learn to live within our means – our planetary means that is. It is helpful that our MP Rob Morrison states that climate change is real and that “we must address the human contribution to this crisis”.
Mr. Morrison’s statement that “carbon tax has not worked”, however, is unsupported.
Evidence shows it decreases greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution, saving lives and healthcare dollars. Refer to case studies at: www.ecofiscal.ca/carbon-pricing/fast-facts/effectiveness.
In B.C., the carbon tax has helped reduce overall emissions, and increase innovation and the uptake of fuel efficient vehicles without loss of jobs or harm to lower income households. (Refer to Institute for Research on Public Policy “Lessons from BC’s carbon tax”. Kathryn Harris. July 11, 2019.)
It should be noted however that some of our highest emitting industries are exempt from the B.C. carbon tax to protect them from competition from jurisdictions who don’t have carbon pricing. In part, this explains why it hasn’t been more effective at reducing emissions in these sectors.
Carbon tax revenues are returned via household rebates, tax cuts, and low carbon investments like public transit. These can help make life more affordable for lower-income households while working to prevent the worst impacts of climate change.
We encourage Mr. Morrison to lead the charge on taxing heavy emitters, as he has suggested. And, we also need more than one strategy. At this time in history, we need many.
Carbon pricing is an important strategy which is called for by the International Monetary Fund, 3,500 economists, 27 Nobel Prize winners, the World Bank and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, among others, to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions while making it more affordable for all households to do so.