Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Carbon Tax News

It seems that carbon tax is showing up on the radar again. First, the Vancouver Observer has a post called Christy Clark and the carbon tax.
Fifty people gathered in a classroom at SFU Harbourside on March 18 to listen to Dr. Nancy Olewiler, Economics Professor of Director SFU’s Public Policy Program, talk about the future of the B.C. Carbon Tax


Olewiler described BC’s carbon tax as a “text book policy,” well designed to meet its goals. The tax started at a low level ($10 per tonne) with increases announced well in advance ($30/tonne in 2012) so that businesses can plan for the most cost effective infrastructure investments.... And, most politically important, it is transparent and accountable. All carbon tax revenues must be returned to the people of BC.
Meanwhile, it seems like Christy Clark's government is looking at using the carbon tax to pay for transit improvements in Metro Vancouver. This actually makes sense as the transportation sector is the largest source of GHG emissions in the province. Providing transit options will finally give people an alternative to driving, especially out in the South of Fraser. According to the Vancouver Sun,

In an open letter to British Columbians released by Clark's office earlier this month, the premier said she is "open to considering using the carbon tax to support regional initiatives, such as public transit."


The statement was lauded by Metro mayors, who in 2009 were firmly rebuffed when they asked for $300 million per year for transit from the provincial carbon tax. Then-premier Gordon Campbell rejected any use of the tax for regional transportation.


Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender said it makes sense to use the carbon tax to fund transportation projects because there's a direct correlation between transit and greenhouse gas emissions.

But the mayors acknowledge the region will have to first look at the priorities and determine how much of the carbon tax is needed to provide transit services.
Finally in Australia, debating is heating up over a proposed federal carbon tax as part of that country's climate change policy. It seems that the price of carbon is a sticking point according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Climate Change Minister Greg Combet rejected this call and said the carbon tax would be “…well south of $40 a tonne ”,  prompting an immediate demand from Greens leader Bob Brown that Mr Combet explain why that would be so and provide the rationale for setting a price at less that $40 per tonne.

It is clear the battle lines are being drawn between the Greens and Labor on the carbon tax.

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