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

Traffic stopped on Highway 97B due to crash

The incident took place south of Mellors Store.

Slideshow: Shuswap Stars sparkle on the dance floor

Stunning choreography raises funds for new chalet at Larch Hills

‘Listen to your gut’ urges injured skier

Mike Shaw was told he’d never walk again after an accident four years ago, but he defied the odds

Families of missing Shuswap women call for action

Birthday of missing woman Ashley Simpson remembered during rally in Yankee Flats

Nasty note on windshield sparks online outrage

Vernon’s Bailey McDonald is using a painful experience to start conversation about invisible illness

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Tips for keeping your personal data safe, from the experts

Volunteers use drones in search for missing women

Lights to turn blue ahead of funeral for fallen Abbotsford police officer

Buildings across B.C. are going blue Saturday night in honour of Const. John Davidson

Ride-share pioneer drives up quietly to B.C. battleground

Lyft approaches B.C. without Uber bombast, eyes small towns

Boomer radio expands

Kelowna resident Allen Holender continues to expand his network

VIDEO: Rare comic showing Superman’s 1st appearance to be auctioned

The 1938 comic features Superman hoisting a car over his head

Pine beetles from Jasper National Park moving into commercial forest

In 2014, beetle activity went from a few spots around Jasper’s townsite to rampant

VIDEO: Tragically Hip members, Alex Trebek receive Order of Canada

Newest recipients join 6,897 Canadians such as Christine Sinclair, Graham Greene and Mark Messier

AC/DC’s Malcolm Young dies at 64

‘Malcolm was a songwriter, guitarist, performer, producer and visionary who inspired many.’

Most Read