At 4RG’s Guelph Climate Change Forum Stephane Dion laid it on the line: the world needs to price carbon if there is to be a chance of reducing GHG emissions from fossil fuels. One effective way for a country to do that is by introducing a carbon tax.
Dion considers that this step might well be taken at the next significant Climate Conference: Paris, 2015. Yet this requires leadership, and Dion could not say which international leader or which country would provide that leadership.
Dion referred to the experience of several Provinces in Canada that have introduced a carbon tax in one form or another: BC, Alberta and Quebec.
BC is the Canadian poster child for a carbon tax. A few days before Dion’s remarks, the Secretary of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (0ECD) had this to say about the BC experiment:
“It is important to note that not all governments have shied away from explicit carbon taxes. Since Sweden introduced its carbon tax in 1991, an additional nine OECD countries have followed suit. We have learned a lot from these experiences on how to introduce carbon taxes. For example, introducing the taxes incrementally over time can allow households and businesses to make smooth, efficient adjustments. The implementation of British Columbia’s carbon tax is as near as we have to a textbook case, with wide coverage across sectors and a steady increase in the rate, from CAD 5 to CAD 30 per tonne over a period of five years.”
In 2008, when they were feeling insecure about the future of Canada’s economy and their jobs, Canadian voters rejected Dion’s proposals, which included a carbon tax, to control Canada’s GHG emissions. The carbon tax was demonized by Conservative election advertizing. Dion and his proposals were rejected at the polls.
If a carbon tax is proposed again in the 2015 Federal Election, the Conservatives will attempt to ridicule the idea and vilify its proponents, exaggerating the effect of the tax and the amount of money it will raise.
With the international support and leadership on a carbon tax, we can hope the Canadian people will not be hoodwinked a second time!