Submitted photo Gas pump, Mark Buckawicki, Wikimedia Commons
https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:MarkBuckawicki

HOLM: Why we need the carbon tax

Margaret Holm writes about solutions to global warming

Confused about carbon tax headlines? B.C. has had a carbon fee since 2008. We were the first province to establish the fee and we are also the province with the best economic growth since 2008, proving that the tax has not hurt business or industry.

A carbon fee is levied on fossil fuels according to how much carbon dioxide is released when burned: more than 10 cents a litre for diesel and less than eight cents for gasoline. We pay at the pumps, on home heating bills, and it’s factored into the cost of airline tickets and other services.

Carbon emissions become greenhouse gases that trap heat thereby causing global warming. How do we drive those emissions down? Economists agree that carbon taxes are the cheapest and quickest way to lower emissions. The fees motivate industries and individuals to make energy efficient choices and to switch to cleaner energy.

Groups like the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Mining Association and ExxonMobil back the carbon tax; they prefer the market to drive change and innovation rather than the government to regulate emissions targets.

We’re hearing plenty of discussion about the carbon tax since Canada now requires all provinces to collect a tax on fossil fuel use. More than 40 countries, and eleven US states, have carbon fees, and China and the US are committed to bringing them in. Canadian companies which claimed paying carbon fees would make it hard to compete internationally are beginning to see a level playing field.

READ MORE: Carbon tax must rise if Canada is to meet Paris emission targets, PBO says

Both B.C. and Canada return carbon fee revenue back to taxpayers depending on income and family size. In B.C. that amounts to about $154 per adult and $45 per child for those making less than $62,000. The federal government estimates that most households will break even or get more back than they pay out.

Fossil fuel emissions carry hidden costs—for example, poor health and hospital costs associated with bad air quality. Insurance rates are increasing due to floods, fires, and extreme weather events caused by climate change. Whether we like it or not, we are already paying for rising carbon emissions. Carbon fees are one way to put a price on pollution and motivate us to change.

Individual actions like using LED light bulbs and improving the energy efficiency of our homes are important, but will only get us part way to reducing global warming. That’s why carbon fees are a key policy for governments to accelerate the change to clean energy.

Watch this column for further articles on climate solutions being put into action across Canada.

About Margaret Holm:

Margaret Holm

Margaret Holm lives in Penticton and is an educator and writer for environmental conservation and climate engagement.

Contact Holm at margaretholm@shaw.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Columnist

Just Posted

A petition was launched urging the District of Coldstream to consider adding a sidewalk to Aberdeen Road Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (Google Maps)
Aberdeen Road needs a sidewalk, says Coldstream resident

The district ran into a steep price tag and lack of land availability the last time they looked into the idea

Vernon resident David Melanson, 21, left the South Hills Tertiary Psychiatric Centre in Brocklehurst at about 1 a.m. on May 12, the day he was reported missing. (Contributed)
Body of missing Vernon man found in Kamloops Lake

David Melanson, 21, left psychiatric centre around 1 a.m. the day he was reported missing

Canadian author Paul Young, who wrote the critically acclaimed novel, the Shack, will join Vernon-based foundation, the Emily Dahl Foundation, for a Fireside Chat event in June 2021. (YouTube)
Acclaimed author to talk mental health at Vernon event

Paul Young, author of bestselling book The Shack, to join Emily Dahl Foundation for Fireside Chat June 8

Vernon-based artist Patricia Neil Lawton is offering a cash reward to the person who can find her missing painting. (Contributed)
Vernon artist offers cash reward for missing painting

Artist Patricia Neil Lawton missing portrait of Billy Muir after downsizing

Shane Ertmoed (right) is serving a life sentence for killing 10-year-old Heather Thomas on Oct. 1, 2000. (File photos)
Child-killer from Vernon an ‘average’ risk to sexually reoffend: Parole Board

Written reasons behind approval of Shane Ertmoed’s request for escorted absences shared

Prince Rupert was one of the first B.C. communities targeted for mass vaccination after a steep rise in infections. Grey area marks community-wide vaccine distribution. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. tracks big drop in COVID-19 infections after vaccination

Prince Rupert, Indigenous communities show improvement

Steven Shearer, <em>Untitled. </em>(Dennis Ha/Courtesy of Steven Shearer)
Vancouver photographer’s billboards taken down after complaints about being ‘disturbing’

‘Context is everything’ when it comes to understanding these images, says visual art professor Catherine Heard

Vikki and Don Holmberg with their three children Marshall, Ava and oldest Lexi who now lives on her own. The Penticton family is facing the prospect of homelessness after their rental home was sold, leading them to ask the community for help. (Contributed)
‘There’s just nothing’: housing crunch puts Okanagan family on the brink of homelessness

Housing crisis something many in the Okanagan can likely relate to, says mother of three

Trina Hunt's remains were found in the Hope area on March 29. Her family is asking the public to think back to the weekend prior to when she went missing. (Photo courtesy of IHIT.)
Cousin of missing woman found in Hope says she won’t have closure until death is solved

Trina Hunt’s family urges Hope residents to check dashcam, photos to help find her killer

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam listens to a question during a news conference, in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Restrictions will lift once 75% of Canadians get 1 shot and 20% are fully immunized, feds say

Federal health officials are laying out their vision of what life could look like after most Canadians are vaccinated against COVID-19

Police are at Ecole Mount Prevost Elementary but the students have been evacuated. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Gardener finds buried explosives, sparking evacuation of Cowichan school

Students removed from school in an ‘abundance of caution’

A COVID-19 patient receives oxygen outside a hospital in Jammu, India, Wednesday, May 12, 2021. (AP/Channi Anand)
B.C. donates $500K to Red Cross COVID-19 relief efforts in India

The money will provide oxygen cylinders and ambulances for patients in communities grappling with the virus

Kelowna rain
Kelowna records driest March on record, spells summer trouble for Okanagan

In March, Kelowna received a total of 2.6 mm of precipitation, compared to the monthly average of almost 22 mm

Superintendent Aaron Paradis, community services officer with the Surrey RCMP, during a media availability about a recent drug bust in Port Coquitlam. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Police seize 13 million ‘potentially fatal doses’ of pure fentanyl at B.C. drug lab

The evidence was seized at large, illicit drug manufacturing site in Port Coquitlam

Most Read