On Sustainability’s Updates

Is This How You Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions Without Hurting The Economy?

fastcoexist.com | Original Article | by Ben Schiller

British Columbia introduced a carbon tax in 2008. Five years later, people use less fuel, emissions have dropped, and the economy isn't in death throes--far from it.

Ask economists what to do about climate change, and some will say a carbon tax is the best solution. But that doesn't mean there are carbon taxes everywhere. Just the opposite. Governments have tended to go with options that are easier politically, like subsidizing cleantech industries, if they've gone for anything at all.

British Columbia is an exception. In 2008, it introduced a tax on about three-quarters of the fossil fuels consumed in the province, gradually raising the level year-by-year. By mid-2012, it was charging $30 U.S. dollars per ton of carbon dioxide. That means drivers now pay about seven cents a liter more for gas than they did five years ago.

The result? Appreciably lower fossil fuel consumption. A study by Stewart Elgie, at the University of Ottawa, finds that fuel use per person dropped 17.4% by 2012, and 18.8% compared to the rest of Canada, where fuel consumption actually rose a bit. This reduction, in turn, has allowed B.C. to lower its emissions by 10% over the period--a pretty good dent in its greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 33% (compared to 2007 levels) by 2020. Read More...