On the eve of an election campaign in British Columbia, three of Canada’s leading enviromental organizations held a press conference on Tuesday condemning a New Democratic Party promise to let B.C. polluters off the hook, despite the damage that might do to the environment or the economy.
The David Suzuki Foundation, the Pembina Institute and Forest Ethics jointly stated that “thousands of jobs in the green economy will be lost, and the province will lose its position as an environmental leader if the (first North American carbon) tax is dropped.”
“The NDP has chosen what they think will be a publicly acceptable but climate-irresponsible approach. And that is, they want to step backward the pricing of carbon and backwards on the policies that are in place in the hopes that that may get them elected,” Merran Smith, a climate director with ForestEthics, said Monday.
The carbon tax, passed by the reigning Liberal government last spring and implemented (awkwardly) just as oil prices peaked last July, has been hailed in environmental and economics circles as the fairest, most comprehensive and most transparent tax on fossil fuel pollution. The NDP alternative, on the other hand, was roundly criticized, most recently by the renowned BC economist, Dr. Marc Jaccard, who estimated that the NDP’s own plan for climate change could cost the province as many as 60,000 jobs by 2020.