BC's Carbon Tax Chugs Along

Premier Gordon Campbell says he won’t bend to northern concerns about his carbon tax, but avoided saying so yesterday in a keynote speech to a meeting of northern B.C. communities, who have challenged him to revise the tax.

reportonbusiness.com: ‘We are not changing the carbon tax. No,’ B.C. Premier says

One of the loudest arguments being made against BC’s pioneering carbon tax proposal is that communities in Northern BC, much colder and much more rural than Vancouver and Victoria, will pay an “unfair” share because they need more carbon to heat their homes and drive their cars/trucks longer distances. The weather and lack of density ensure that they will pay higher carbon taxes, so it is unfair.

Well, sorry! Victoria and Vancouver have been paying a fair weather premium for years in higher home prices, higher property taxes, higher prices on lots of things because that’s what city dwellers do without complaint. You can buy an average single family home in Prince George for $125,000, which may get you a garage in Vancouver!

Cities are more efficient, and use far less energy per capita because of the density and transit options. Pricing carbon starts bringing some of these efficiencies to the forefront and that is a good thing.

BC’s carbon tax is not perfect by any means. But, it is a start and it gets people thinking about consumption. Believe me, carbon’s on a lot of people’s minds here in BC. There’s tons of talk about carbon sinks and sources in the media. The carbon tax has definitely contributed to an increase in conversation about choices and their consequences. The funny thing is that the proposed carbon tax on gasoline has been dwarfed by actual market driven increases in gasoline prices. The important difference is that a carbon tax is a revenue stream that goes to funding carbon free energy sources. So, a tax, however small, is still preferable to the profits going to companies that deal in carbon.

Hurray for BC and its carbon tax attempts. It is a decent start and one that I hope will be adopted by the rest of Canada and that wee country south of the border!

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