For Immediate Release:
December 17, 2015
New Report Shows British Columbia’s Carbon Tax is Working
Canadian province sees 3.5 times faster decrease in emissions than rest of country, while economic growth remains steady
As policymakers worldwide begin working to meet the goals set out in the Paris climate agreement, a new report released today by the nonpartisan Carbon Tax Center shows that the tax on carbon polluters enacted by British Columbia in 2008 has had a significant effect in decreasing carbon emissions that cause climate change, without impacting economic growth.
The study analyzes emissions data from Canada’s third most populous province over the past seven years since the region began taxing greenhouse gas emissions. The numbers show that British Columbia saw a 3.5 times faster decrease in per capita emissions than the rest of the country. It concludes that the region’s modest tax of $30 (Canadian) per metric ton of pollution (equivalent to around $20.50 per U.S. short ton) will need to resume its upward trajectory — the tax reached its current level in 2012 — in order to continue decreasing carbon emissions.
“The climate crisis is just that, a crisis. We need policy solutions that harness the power of price signals, and British Columbia’s carbon tax offers a promising example that other regions can and should adopt,” said Charles Komanoff, director of the Carbon Tax Center and lead author of the report. “Not only do the numbers indicate that taxing pollution has been effective at curbing greenhouse gas emissions, but they highlight how politically feasible such a tax is, given that it has had no negative impact on economic growth.”
British Columbia’s carbon tax has remained popular with voters, who overwhelmingly re-elected Premier Gordon Campbell a year after the tax was instituted. Its success in reducing emissions shows that even a modest tax on carbon pollution can have a significant effect, and that using the revenue generated to decrease other taxes on income and businesses can ensure that such a tax does not harm the economy.
The Carbon Tax Center made headlines recently after it organized a letter to the Paris climate negotiators signed by 32 leading economics and science experts, including 4 Nobel prize winners and 3 former U.S. cabinet secretaries.
One of the signatories, renowned Harvard Economics professor Martin Weitzman, noted the need for carbon taxes after the Paris agreement, saying, “British Columbia’s popular revenue-neutral carbon tax offers a very good starting point.”
The Carbon Tax Center launched in January 2007 to give voice to Americans who believe that taxing emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases is imperative to combat global warming. CTC is a clearinghouse for research, analysis and advocacy to establish a carbon tax as the centerpiece of U.S. policy to combat catastrophic climate change. It has been the leading NGO advocating for carbon taxing as the key to unlocking low- and non-carbon investment and innovation to drive the global energy system away from fossil fuels to renewable wind, sunlight and efficiency.