Premier Christy Clark announces her climate action advisory team in May 2015

Raise carbon tax, B.C. advisors recommend

Too late to meet 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target, panel tells Environment Minister Mary Polak and Premier Christy Clark

The B.C. government’s climate advisory panel wants to start increasing the province’s carbon tax with a 33 per cent jump in 2018, and says even with higher fuel tax the province won’t meet its current target to reduce greenhouse gases one third by 2020.

The carbon tax has been frozen at $30 a tonne since 2013, a rate that translates to about seven cents a litre on gasoline and similar taxes on diesel, natural gas and other carbon-based fuels. The government’s advisory team recommends increasing the carbon tax by $10 a tonne each year starting in 2018, with increased rebates for low-income and rural B.C. residents.

Environment Minister Mary Polak released the panel’s recommendations Friday, as the B.C. delegation led by Premier Christy Clark prepares to attend the United Nations climate change meetings in Paris next week.

Polak was skeptical about one of the panel’s recommendations, to cut the provincial sales tax from seven per cent to six and replace the revenues through higher carbon taxes in the years ahead.

“It is one of their recommendations, and so we’ll be looking at it along with the others, but I think at first blush, the numbers probably don’t work,” Polak said.

The panel, appointed in May with industry and environmental representatives, concluded that the 2020 reduction target isn’t going to be met. It recommends a new target of a 40 per cent reduction by 2030, and says the original target of an 80 per cent cut can still be reached with “aggressive” carbon pricing and expansion of the tax to include industrial emissions.

Polak said she accepts that assessment, and will consult with industry and B.C. residents before setting new policies next spring to meet the new 2030 target.

NDP leader John Horgan said the Clark government has frozen the carbon tax and delayed progress on Metro Vancouver transit with a referendum they expected would fail.

“Rather than reduce emissions, they’ve gone up,” Horgan said. “And we’re not even counting liquefied natural gas.”

Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver said the recommendation to resume increases in the carbon tax is “bold,” but the report also shows Clark’s government gave up on the 2020 target that is still in legislation.

“The key thing is that these recommendations are completely incompatible with the government’s LNG plan,” Weaver said.

 

Just Posted

Bella Coola to benefit from massive investment in coastal internet

A combined investment of $45.4 million will bring new and updated high-speed internet on the coast

Nearly $500,000 available for internships with First Nations government

Funds announced through partnership with Northern Development and Government of Canada

O’Reilly trial scheduled to start January 15 for Anahim Lake murders

O’Reilly is charged with first-degree murder

School District 49 to re-open Nusatsum Elementary in September 2018

SD49 says increasing enrollment is driving its decision to re-open the school

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

WestJet appeals lost bid to scrap harassment lawsuit

Airline argues judge was wrong to have dismissed the company’s application to strike the legal action

Can U.S. border guards search your phone? Yes, and here’s how

Secretary of homeland security explains a new policy that let’s border guards check phones

‘Beautiful writer’ Nancy Richler dies of cancer in Vancouver hospital

Montreal-born author spent most of her adult life in B.C. as a fiction writer and novelist

B.C. commuters vote to rename bus service to ‘Jeff’

The company asked and the people of Facebook answered

Students frustrated by UBCO response to harassment allegations

Students on the Kelowna campus were unaware of resources and worried about lack of communication

Opinion: Dare to be smarter

Just say no works for more than just substance abuse

‘Sing Me a Song’ about B.C. for a chance at $1,000 contest prize

Entries due by March 30 for lieutenant-governor’s British Columbia-themed competition

Facing reality of death, B.C. man learns real meaning of life

Even while preparing for the end, something inside Keven Drews won’t let him stop living

Most Read