It’s not been widely publicized, but the carbon tax in British Columbia has failed to bring about reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the province. That point is made by Kris Sims of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation in an article in the Asian Pacific Post. She writes:
“Government documents show that emissions in B.C. have gone up from 59.2 megatonnes in 2015 to 65.7 megatonnes in 2019. An 11 per cent increase in four years.
“This is despite B.C. taxpayers having handed over more than $14 billion in the carbon tax with no emissions reductions to show for it.
“Tax revenues keep sloshing into government coffers in an even flow. Taxpayers are paying nearly $2 billion in the B.C. carbon tax this year alone.”
A Canadian report (Table ES-4) shows the figures. Greenhouse gas emissions dipped between 2005 and 2010, then rose, for a total increase of 4.3 percent between 2005 and 2019.
The carbon tax, which went into effect in 2008, is a rarity on this continent. It was designed to charge, at first, $10 per tonne (metric ton) of carbon used to produce fuel and energy. The tax was to rise gradually and is now $45 per tonne.
The tax is paid for by consumers at the point of sale. Thus, gasoline at the pump includes a tax of 9.96 (Canadian) cents per liter, reports an official British Columbia website, and natural gas includes 8.82 (Canadian cents) per cubic meter. A Climate Action Tax Credit is given to low- and middle-income families to compensate them for the higher prices.
Of course, we don’t know what the carbon-dioxide emissions in B.C. would have been without the tax. However, Canadian figures show that Ontario and New Brunswick have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 21 and 38 percent respectively since 2005.
H-T to Institute for Energy Research and Cooler Heads Digest.
Image by Gene Gallin on Unsplash.com.
2 thoughts on “The Carbon Tax that Failed”
There would have been more emissions without the tax (demand curves are downward sloping). Energy use varies for all kinds of reasons from province to province. (Income and weather are two obvious variables. Density would be another.) However, other things equal, when you tax something you get less of it. That’s almost an axiom.
It looks as though the tax would have to be quite high to have a major impact.