Who Supports Carbon Taxes?

Carbon taxes are supported by a wide range of academic, public sector, and business leaders, including major energy companies in Canada and around the world.

In 2019, more than 3,500 economists—including 28 Nobel laureates and all living former Federal Reserve Chairs—signed the Economists’ Statement on Carbon Dividends in support of carbon pricing. This is the largest public statement in the history of the economics profession. 

Notable supporters of carbon pricing

Conservative Party of Canada

  • Erin O’Toole: In 2021, Conservative Party of Canada leader Erin O’Toole became the first leader of a Canadian federal conservative party to endorse carbon pricing. In his climate plan he recognized “that the most efficient way to reduce our emissions is to use pricing mechanisms.” (Conservative Party of Canada climate plan)

Canadian energy executives

  • Husky Energy Senior Vice President Janet Annesley: “Not only do we have the carbon tax that applies to large emitters like Husky in the oilsands, but frankly, the flip side is that the government is using some of those revenues to help industry reinvest in technology. The combination of both of those policies is particularly powerful.” (remarks made at the 2019 CERAWeek conference)
  • MEG Energy CEO Derek Evans: “We need a carbon tax. It would be nice if we weren’t sitting around arguing about it, but it seems to be a political football today.” (2019 CBC interview)
  • Teck Resources CEO Don Lindsay: “We are also strong supporters of Canada’s action on carbon pricing and other climate policies such as legislated caps for oil sands emissions.” (February 2020 letter to Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson)
  • Suncor CEO Mark Little: Suncor has “been a huge supporter of a carbon price for literally over two decades.” (remarks made at the 2019 CERAWeek conference)
  • Cenovus Energy Executive Vice President Al Reid: “We’ve actually had a carbon tax in Alberta since 2007 and we’ve operated under that successfully. In fact we’ve thrived under that system as a company.” (October 2019 investor day presentation)

Other Canadian business leaders

  • Business Council of Alberta: “Re-introducing the provincial consumer carbon tax would also create a significant revenue stream for the Alberta government.” (February 2021 report)
  • The Canadian Chamber of Commerce: “Carbon pricing is generally the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at lowest costs…Businesses prefer carbon pricing over regulation as a means to reduce emissions because it provides a strong incentive to take action, while allowing each firm the flexibility to pursue innovative, low cost ways to achieve this goal.” (December 2018 report: “A Competitive Transition: How smarter climate policy can help Canada lead the way to a low carbon economy”)
  • Mining Association of Canada President and CEO Pierre Gratton: “Today, one of Canada’s largest industries is coming out in support of a carbon price, identifying it as the most effective and efficient means of driving emissions reductions and making real progress in the global fight against climate change.” (April 2016 press release)
  • Business Council of Canada President and CEO Goldy Hyder: “We support the [carbon] price mechanism because it provides the economic incentive for consumers to change their behaviour and for businesses to invest in technologies that progressively reduce their emissions over time.” (October 2018 statement)
  • Chemistry Industry Association of Canada President and CEO Bob Masterson: “A transparent, predictable price on carbon that provides competitiveness considerations for Canada’s trade-exposed industrial sectors is a much preferred approach for dealing with the challenge of climate change.” (December 2020 press release)

Canadian conservative thought leaders

  • Ken Boessenkool: “a tax shift to a rising carbon tax is a credible climate-change policy that uses the ingenuity of markets, not the ingenuity of governments, to reduce emissions.” (October 2020 op-ed)
  • Andrew Coyne: “Carbon pricing is not only the simplest and cheapest way of signalling to producers and consumers where and how to cut their emissions. It’s also the least divisive.” (March 2020 Globe and Mail column)
  • John Ivison: “I happen to agree with the carbon pricing model the federal government has chosen, at least as long as the rebates equivalent to the carbon tax continue to make their way back to consumers.” (December 2020 National Post column)

Canadian think tanks

  • Fraser Institute: “It’s widely acknowledged that putting a price carbon is the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions, as it provides flexibility to individuals and businesses to either pay the price of emitting or find cheaper ways to reduce emissions … Overall, a well-designed carbon-pricing plan can benefit Canada’s economy and environment.” (April 2021 op-ed)
  • Macdonald Laurier Institute: “A national carbon tax should be the government’s primary economic instrument for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. No other policy offers more transparency with lower administrative costs or more reliance on market forces, all while achieving reduced consumption and creating the economic incentives for technological alternatives.” (February 2021 report by Dennis McConaghy, Jack Mintz, and Ron Wallace)

International leaders and organizations

  • Economist William Nordhaus, 2018 Nobel laureate and Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University: “Canada has really moved into the forefront in terms of carbon pricing with its tax and rebate plan…this is a plan that’s got both environmental effectiveness and some kind of political glue to hold it together…We in the United States who care about this can be very proud of Canada. I think you’ve taken some of the most innovative steps in carbon pricing…it’s really been a showcase for other countries…I point to Canada as a country that has found the formula…for attacking in an aggressive way, in a way that appears to be politically acceptable, using important tools like carbon pricing. I think Canada can be very proud of that.” (June 2021 interview)
  • Former Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development Ángel Gurría: “Put a big fat price on carbon.” (February 2021 remarks)
  • International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva: “We also need much greater efforts to reduce carbon emissions and offset what cannot be reduced…The best way forward is to put a price on carbon.” (February 2020 statement)
  • Former Republican Secretaries of State James Baker and George Shultz: “Long preferred by economists and business leaders, a well-designed and gradually rising carbon fee is the most cost-effective climate solution.” (June 2020 op-ed)
  • World Bank Group Climate Change Global Director Bernice Van Bronkhorst: “A well-designed carbon price embedded in a broader package of climate, energy and development policies and measures remains critical to solving the climate challenge and advancing the achievement of sustainable development aspirations.” (State and Trends of Carbon Pricing 2020 report)
  • International Energy Agency: “[C]arbon pricing can be a key element in making stimulus packages for recovery more efficient while laying the foundations for a green and sustainable economy.” (August 2020 commentary)
  • French President Emmanuel Macron: “If we don’t set a price for carbon, there will be no transition.” (April 2021 comments)
  • Pope Francis: “[C]arbon pricing is essential if humanity is to use the resources of creation wisely.” (June 2019 statement)
  • International Chamber of Shipping (April 2021)

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