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Forget the Praise: BC’s Carbon Tax Is a Failure

Forget the Praise: BC’s Carbon Tax Is a Failure

Higher emissions, slow growth, regressive taxation. Sorry, what’s to celebrate?

Premier Clark at GLOBE 2016

‘We think in British Columbia a carbon tax is a really successful way to go,’ BC’s premier said last year. The only problem is it doesn’t work. Photo of Premier Clark at GLOBE 2016 by Mychaylo Prystupa.

“Let’s cut the crap about B.C.’s carbon tax. The impact of the carbon tax has been overstated by people who love carbon taxes, and it’s annoying that the tax has generated so much uncritical praise.” — Marc Lee, pro-carbon tax economist.

To hear it from Premier Christy Clark, our province is a beacon of trailblazing perfection in the battle against climate change.

And the crowning glory of B.C.’s efforts is the carbon tax introduced in 2008. The tax now adds 6.67 cents a litre to the price of gasoline and imposes costs on other fuels for residents and industries.

“We think in British Columbia a carbon tax is a really successful way to go,” Clark said in November 2015 before jetting to the Paris climate change talks.

Cue the applause, from the New York Times to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development to new group Smart Prosperity that launched last week in Vancouver, with none other than Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to validate Clark’s claims that you can price carbon and reduce greenhouse gas emissions — without hurting your economy.

The only problem is that B.C.’s carbon tax doesn’t work.

Marc Lee, senior economist for the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in the province, likes carbon taxes. But “don’t believe the hype on B.C.’s carbon tax,” he says.

“The reality is that since 2010, B.C.’s GHG emissions have increased every year; as of 2013 they are up 4.3 per cent above 2010 levels,” Lee writes on the CCPA website.

Even on a per capita basis, emissions have risen.

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