Carbon Tax – Ready For Polite Society?

For some time now I have had the sense that the concept of Carbon Tax is becoming a more acceptable dining room conversation topic, so yesterday I decided to poke around the web to see what I could see. While I didn’t find direct proof that there’s more than last year, I  certainly found no shortage of interesting, provocative commentary and I am now comfortable talking about it with anyone.

It seems obvious to me that if we want to discourage the use of fossil fuels we should increase the price. The generic name for this idea is a Price on Carbon. This includes Carbon Tax and Cap & Trade, but what do these mean? Many commentators justify the tax saying that it addresses the cost of the damage done by burning carbon.

The simplest description of a Carbon Tax that I found was by James Hansen:  1) A fee is charged at the point of origin or point of import on greenhouse gas emitting energy (oil, gas and coal).  2) The fee is progressive (increases gradually) over time.  3) The fee is returned to the public. Read his full description of what it is, why it will work, and why the Climate Lobby prefers to call it Fee and Dividend.

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Down-Under Drama!

Australians are never uninteresting people, and Australian politics is a fascinating story of palace coups, policy flip-flops and personality battles. In this exciting environment it is easy to lose sight of the need for action to reduce climate change.

Australians vote in a general election scheduled for mid-September of this year. Tony Abbot, the leader of the opposition Liberals, is relying heavily upon one principal promise: if elected his party will repeal the Carbon Tax enacted by the current Labour Government – within days. Just recently Abbot has made public a letter that re-iterates and repeats this promise in many different words. He claims that repealing the Carbon Tax will ease cost of living pressures on families, help small business and restore confidence to the economy.

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2013: Will BC voters reject a Carbon Tax?

British Columbia is known for its progressive legislation on environmental issues.  The publication “Corporate Knights”, which advertizes itself as The Magazine for Clean Capitalism, ranks British Columbia second in its assessment of “Canada’s Greenest Province”.   (The leader among Canadian provinces:  Ontario.)

One law that has attracted favourable commentary from abroad is the BC carbon tax, which was implemented on July 1, 2008.   The carbon tax is revenue neutral, meaning every dollar generated by the tax is returned to British Columbians through reductions in other taxes. Tax cut measures include income tax credits for low income individuals, cutting the first two personal income tax rates by 5 per cent, providing northern and rural homeowners a benefit of up to $200 annually, and reducing the business taxes.

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Carbon Offsets Market

“It is great to be here and to make a major announcement as part of the Government of Canada’s plan to combat climate change.” These are the words of introduction of a speech by Jim Prentice, then Minister of the Environment to the Economic Club on June 10, 2009.  In case the audience had not …

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Australian Update

First the good news: finally there is something positive to write about. Go to our blog “Climate Change Leadership, Australian Style” where the subject was the introduction of national legislation imposing a tax on carbon emissions.  We pointed out that heretofore Australian politicians who supported action, whatever form it took,  against climate changewere committing political …

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