This year the BC government will institute a carbon tax of $10/tonne of GHG emissions on the sale of most fossil fuels in BC increasing to $30/tonne by 2012. The tax will be accompanied by a corresponding rebate, such that the program will be revenue neutral for government.
No funds will be allocated toward climate programs, let alone carbon offset strategies, which is a huge oversight. See my post BC’s Carbon Tax – So close yet so far from a few months ago for more details on that. The tax itself is not high enough to significantly reduce people’s consumption of fossil fuels, adding only 6% to the current price over the next 5 years. Seasonal variation and increasing world crude oil prices have resulted in an increase in price of about 16% over the past 3 months alone. That’s almost 3 times the increase that will be imposed by the BC carbon tax over the next 5 years.
I’m happy to see fuel prices rising because that kind of increase IS likely to make people rethink the amount of fossil fuel they consume, and indeed, “alternative” modes of transportation like walking, biking, and public transit are on the rise. I will not be surprised if the government takes credit for this in the following years, even though the trend has been well established before their tax has even taken effect. But the fact remains that the fuel that is consumed will not be any more “climate friendly” or “carbon neutral” once the tax is imposed. That is, unless people choose to make it so by spending their rebate wisely.
This year a $100 Climate Action Dividend cheque will be mailed to every British Columbian. A website called Green Your Campbell Cash has been developed by The Tyee, the Western Canada Wilderness Committee, Voters Taking Action on Climate Change, the David Suzuki Foundation and the Pembina Institute with the intent of diverting at least some of the $440 odd million dollars of rebates to strategies that will actually have a climate impact. If you’re wondering what to do with you’re $100 rebate, or if you have a climate project and are looking for funding, check out the website.
Originally posted at www.IWillTry.org.