Premier Christy Clark announces her climate action advisory team in May 2015

Raise carbon tax, B.C. advisors recommend

Too late to meet 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target, panel tells Environment Minister Mary Polak and Premier Christy Clark

The B.C. government’s climate advisory panel wants to start increasing the province’s carbon tax with a 33 per cent jump in 2018, and says even with higher fuel tax the province won’t meet its current target to reduce greenhouse gases one third by 2020.

The carbon tax has been frozen at $30 a tonne since 2013, a rate that translates to about seven cents a litre on gasoline and similar taxes on diesel, natural gas and other carbon-based fuels. The government’s advisory team recommends increasing the carbon tax by $10 a tonne each year starting in 2018, with increased rebates for low-income and rural B.C. residents.

Environment Minister Mary Polak released the panel’s recommendations Friday, as the B.C. delegation led by Premier Christy Clark prepares to attend the United Nations climate change meetings in Paris next week.

Polak was skeptical about one of the panel’s recommendations, to cut the provincial sales tax from seven per cent to six and replace the revenues through higher carbon taxes in the years ahead.

“It is one of their recommendations, and so we’ll be looking at it along with the others, but I think at first blush, the numbers probably don’t work,” Polak said.

The panel, appointed in May with industry and environmental representatives, concluded that the 2020 reduction target isn’t going to be met. It recommends a new target of a 40 per cent reduction by 2030, and says the original target of an 80 per cent cut can still be reached with “aggressive” carbon pricing and expansion of the tax to include industrial emissions.

Polak said she accepts that assessment, and will consult with industry and B.C. residents before setting new policies next spring to meet the new 2030 target.

NDP leader John Horgan said the Clark government has frozen the carbon tax and delayed progress on Metro Vancouver transit with a referendum they expected would fail.

“Rather than reduce emissions, they’ve gone up,” Horgan said. “And we’re not even counting liquefied natural gas.”

Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver said the recommendation to resume increases in the carbon tax is “bold,” but the report also shows Clark’s government gave up on the 2020 target that is still in legislation.

“The key thing is that these recommendations are completely incompatible with the government’s LNG plan,” Weaver said.

 

Just Posted

Nature Wise: How are Canada’s birds doing and do we even care?

Columnist Bob Handfield, president of the South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club

Mix of sun and cloud for the Okanagan-Shuswap-Similkameen region

Environment Canada is forecasting a chance of showers with a risk of thunderstorms for the region

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Gusty winds and scattered clouds.

Temperatures are expected to reach the high 20s under cloudy skies.

South Okanagan real estate market continues to stabilize, millennials eager to become homeowners

SOREB President Dori Lionello said millenials are carefully watching the market

Okanagan-Shuswap weather: Sun, chances of showers continue through weekend

Environment Canada forecasts mixes of sun, clouds and rain to start the weekend

VIDEO: Okanagan Valley weekday weather update

Environment Canada says it’s going to be a rainy week

Okanagan man rides bike 654km to Alberta for mental health, pipeline awareness

Cycle 2 Change 2019 was made to open up conversation about mental health and Trans-Mountain Pipeline

B.C. couple bring son home from Nigeria after long adoption delay

Kim and Clark Moran of Abbotsford spent almost a year waiting to finalize adoption of Ayo, 3

Dump truck lifts power lines causing fire near South Okanagan school

Emergency responders dealt with two incidents at the same time near KVR Middle School

Car thief to be sentenced in Kelowna B.C. Supreme Court

Stanley Nickason is set to plead guilty on multiple charges

UPDATED: Lane closed after fatal collision on Highway 97 east of Falkland

A man in his 60s is dead after a single vehicle crash on July 15

Health Canada revokes licences of B.C.-based pot producer Agrima Botanicals

The agency said it notified the company of a suspension in November due to non-compliance with regulations

Deals, protests during Amazon Prime Day

The Seattle-based e-commerce behemoth says it is offering more than a million deals

Most Read