British Columbia unveils carbon tax
The Canadian province of British Columbia has announced it will implement a carbon tax beginning in July that could lead to a cut in greenhouse-gas emissions of about 3 million tons in the next five years. The tax is expected to bring in as much as $1.8 billion over the next three years by increasing the price of almost all fossil fuels in the province, though it’s designed to be revenue neutral and won’t raise funds for clean energy like Quebec’s carbon tax. Instead, to enhance its appeal to consumers, B.C.’s carbon tax is being paired with a $100 rebate as well as a range of tax cuts. Officials hope to change consumers’ habits for the better. “If you start to change your lifestyle even modestly … you will have extra dollars in your pocket,” said B.C. Finance Minister Carole Taylor. Critics stressed that industrial emissions from oil, gas, and cement production will not be taxed under the plan and that carbon prices will be relatively light at $10 per ton beginning in July and increasing to $30 per ton by 2012.