bc ndp carbon tax

Mon, 2009-04-27 11:38Kevin Grandia
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Ottawa Citizen compares BC NDP to Conservative Party on Carbon Tax stance

An editorial in the Ottawa Citizen today on the BC election and the issue of the carbon tax points out that:

“Instead of trying to create the best possible tax shift for B.C., the provincial NDP has chosen to follow the populist path blazed by the federal Conservatives, and portray the tax-shift as a cash-grab.” (my emphasis)

The entire column is here: Watching the West Coast

Sat, 2009-04-25 08:39Kevin Grandia
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Top academics call BC NDP the new climate change 'mythmakers'

A high profile group of academics, including Dr. John Robinson, UBC’s top sustainability expert and a lead author on three reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), co-wrote a column in the Vancouver Sun today accusing the BC NDP of “intellectual dishonesty.” The group goes on to compare the BC NDP and their leader Carole James to “ ‘Climate “skeptics’ — people who doubt, despite the mounds of evidence, that climate change is a problem worth addressing…”

Robinson and company write:

“Climate ‘skeptics’ — people who doubt, despite the mounds of evidence, that climate change is a problem worth addressing — are less prevalent today, but they been replaced by purveyors of a new myth: people who tell voters that we can solve the climate change problem without the need for any change in how we live our lives.

In B.C., Carole James and the NDP are these new mythmakers. The BC NDP promise to “axe the tax,” should they win the provincial election, while accomplishing all the same goals with no cost to BC taxpayers, is nothing short of intellectual dishonesty.” (my emphasis)

Read the whole op-ed here: Debunking myths about the B.C. carbon tax

Thu, 2009-04-23 10:05Kevin Grandia
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Al Gore Champions Revenue Neutral Carbon Tax

“We should tax what we burn, not what we earn. This is the single most important policy change we can make.”

- Al Gore, Former US Vice President and 2008 Nobel Laureate

Given the debate over British Columbia’s carbon tax, we’re highlighting the opinions of some of the world’s top leaders on climate change solutions and their thoughts on carbon tax policy. And who better to look to than the Nobel prize-winning former US Vice-President Al Gore.

Gore has long been an outspoken champion of the idea of a revenue-neutral carbon tax that shifts the tax burden away from things like income and small business tax and puts it on the consumption of fuels that emit heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

In a speech Gore gave last summer at the Constitution Hall in Washington, DC, he explained that:

“Of course, we could and should speed up this transition by insisting that the price of carbon-based energy include the costs of the environmental damage it causes. I have long supported a sharp reduction in payroll taxes with the difference made up in CO2 taxes. We should tax what we burn, not what we earn. This is the single most important policy change we can make.” (my emphasis)

As John Lauhmer at Treehugger explains Gore’s carbon tax position:

“As a not-running-for President guy, Al’s in a position to be logical about the best public policy to drive climate action: a carbon tax. No Democratic candidate can come out for a carbon tax because he or she would be attacked for being a ‘tax and spend liberal.’ And no Republican candidate can come out of the carbon tax closet because…you know…tax cuts.”

Wed, 2009-04-22 11:17Kevin Grandia
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Jaccard: Voters being misled on BC climate policy

“I know this sounds cynical. But politicians implementing a carbon tax face a great risk that unscrupulous political opponents will mislead the public by claiming we can reduce emissions without taxing gasoline, conveniently failing to mention that their cap-and-trade alternative should have the same upward effect on its price for the same emissions reductions.”

That quote is from an opinion piece in the Vancouver Sun today on BC climate policy and the current BC election, by Simon Fraser University economist Dr. Marc Jaccard.

Jaccard writes:

“A recent B.C. NDP press release states that Canada’s National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy (on which I serve) “clearly supports” the NDP’s climate policy proposal to scrap the carbon tax and that I am Premier Gordon Campbell’s ‘top adviser’ on B.C.’s carbon tax. Neither of these statements is true.”

While the BC NDP will no doubt try and paint Jaccard, an internationally respected academic on climate policy, as some how in bed with the BC Liberal government, the reality is that Jaccard has worked to advise the BC government for many years, including previous NDP ones.

As Jaccard rightly point out:

“Of course, the NDP did not call me Campbell’s ‘top adviser’ from 2001 to 2006 when I repeatedly criticized his ineffective climate policies of that period. But now that I am applauding his recent climate policies and sharply criticizing the NDP’s alternatives, their strategy is to claim I am no longer independent.”

Mon, 2009-04-20 12:14Kevin Grandia
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Yale Economist William Nordhaus on Carbon Tax

Given the debate over BC’s carbon tax, we thought we would search about for some expert opinion on carbon emission policy. Few leading thinkers present the issue as an either/or carbon-taxes-or-cap-and-trade option. Most policy analysts favour using both instruments.

An exception is Dr. William Norhaus, the renowned Professor of Economics at Yale University, who recently called for “an internationally harmonized system of carbon taxes.”

This, Nordhaus said, would be much more efficient than an international patchwork of emissions caps; small countries wouldn’t have to worry about achieving certain emissions levels and the system would be much less prone to corruption or cheating.

Most importantly, Nordhaus said, Taxes, “while hated,” are a long-standing and “proven” financial instrument.

Fri, 2009-04-17 17:02Kevin Grandia
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National Roundtable Climate Expert challenges NDP policy position

The chair of the National Roundtable on the Economy and the Environment (NTREE) dismissed the B.C. NDP’s claim today that the party’s cap-and-trade scheme would punish polluters and save money for consumers.

Whether you manage climate change with a carbon tax or with cap and trade, “the price is going to be paid for by the consumer one way or another and I don’t see that as the major difference between the two systems,” Bob Page told CKNW talk show host Bill Good.

Fri, 2009-04-17 14:18Kevin Grandia
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Center for Policy Alternatives Economist sees BC Carbon Tax as good first step

Yes politics does make for strange bedfellows.

On CKNW today, economic commentator Michael Levy was discussing the BC provincial election and the BC Carbon Tax when he out pointed that an economist for the Center for Policy Alternatives is in favor of the BC government’s carbon tax policy.

Here’s a transcript:

Thu, 2009-04-16 09:21Kevin Grandia
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Global TV's Keith Baldry: NDP sells environmental soul

Global Television’s Chief political correspondent Keith Baldry has published an opinion piece today on the BC NDP’s stance on the carbon tax and climate change.

Baldry writes:

“The NDP’s opposition to the carbon tax – a position that is the starting point for its entire platform – appears to be based on two reasons: it was unpopular when it was introduced last summer because the price of gasoline was so high at the time, and it was a B.C. Liberal creation, so therefore it must be bad.”

Here’s the entire column: NDP sells environmental soul

Thu, 2009-04-16 08:29Jim Hoggan
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Standing on Principle: Explaining the DeSmogBlog's Position on the BC Election

An election campaign is unfolding in the Canadian province of British Columbia over the next month, the outcome of which could have important implications all over North America and, ultimately, around the world.

A central issue in this provincial political squabble is a carbon tax - according to most analysts, the least-expensive, most effective and most transparent of climate change solutions (check this report, for example from the U.S. Congressional Budget Office [PDF]).

But if carbon taxes are popular among economists, they are widely regarded as toxic among voters - as any new tax is likely to be. That’s why the B.C. election is so important. For people outside this jurisdiction, it is being seen not so much as a minor election in a distant place, but as a referendum on carbon taxes. The assumption here is that if the tax fails here, it won’t be worth trying anywhere in North America.

Wed, 2009-04-15 10:22Richard Littlemore
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BC NDP Voted Against Cap and Trade Legislation in 2008

Update: Per a comment below, after I posted this story, Sean Holman at Public Eye Online called to say that the NDP had voted against this cap-and-trade enabling legislation because of secrecy provisions within. (Thank you, Sean.)

In turns out that the David Suzuki Foundation objected on the same grounds (see the first attached document), after which the government withdrew the secrecy provisions (see the second attached document), before the final, contrary vote.

On April 3, 2008, the BC government introduced the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act.

On May 28th 2008, the BC NDP, who claim that the issue of climate change must urgently be addressed, voted en masse against the bill.

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