bc ndp climate change

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.”

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.

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:

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

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.

Top Environmental Group Lambastes BC NDP Climate Change Platform

The Pembina Institute calls the BC NDP’s election platform a “step backwards for climate change.”

Matt Horne, BC Energy Solutions Director for the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the BC NDP’s release of its election platform:

“The NDP plans to cancel British Columbia’s carbon tax, but offers limited detail on how the party otherwise plans to meet British Columbia’s greenhouse gas reduction targets.

“The NDP’s platform puts climate change on the shelf to be addressed in the future, rather than building on steps already taken.
The carbon tax is already showing results. It is important for British Columbia to keep moving forward on climate change rather than starting over again. [my emphasis]

“The carbon tax covers more than 75 per cent of British Columbia’s greenhouse gas pollution, including industry, while the core of the NDP plan would address only 30 per cent at best. British Columbia’s climate plan needs to be strengthened, but the NDP’s proposal takes us in the opposite direction.

“The NDP fails to acknowledge that British Columbia’s carbon tax applies to all fossil fuels burned in the province, regardless of who consumes them. This is an important fact for British Columbians to understand.”

The NDP platform includes a number of other commitments related to climate and energy, and the Pembina Institute will release a more detailed review of these next week.

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