The British Columbia government’s decision—announced yesterday—to postpone a scheduled increase in its carbon tax is understandable, given the challenging economic conditions confronting the province.
But I strongly hope that BC will remain committed to climate leadership—especially its plan to continue strengthening the provincial carbon tax. Evidence from around the world, including from British Columbia, shows that carbon taxes are the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions, while protecting economies.
Right now, Canadian provincial and federal governments are struggling to cope with the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, they must remember that climate change poses a huge challenge for our health and our economy.
British Columbians and all Canadians understand the risks. Opinion polls continue to show that people expect political leaders to take action on the climate even as they battle the pandemic.
One of the best ways to make the carbon tax affordable for the people of BC, especially those with lower incomes, is to keep it revenue neutral. The government of British Columbia should consider returning all carbon tax revenue directly to households through the Climate Action Tax Credit.
British Columbia has a history of climate leadership in Canada. The province was the first to implement a carbon tax in 2008. Experts agree that to make it even more effective, the tax needs to be higher.
I encourage the BC government to resume, as soon as possible, its plan to continue strengthening the carbon tax. Carbon pricing is a critical tool in our effort to reduce emissions, avoid the worst impacts of climate change, and build a clean, prosperous future.