VICTORIA, B.C. – In a move that advances the interests of the oil and gas industry instead of British Columbians, today the B.C. NDP announced they will cancel the scheduled increase of the 2020 carbon tax. This decision will save industry and heavy polluters hundreds of millions of dollars, as B.C. loses out on the opportunity to reinvest in creating sustainable jobs and provide higher rebates for British Columbians struggling during the pandemic.
Carbon pricing is an important tool that British Columbia has used for over a decade to help reduce pollution and redistribute costs in our society. The introduction of the carbon tax was historic - it set the direction for B.C. to be seen as a climate leader coming out of the 2008 recession, paving the way for investors to capitalize on the economic advantages associated with working towards sustainability. Instead of weakening our most effective climate policy, we should take the money companies pay for their pollution and use it to create sustainable jobs and increased carbon tax rebates for low-income British Columbians.
“The NDP’s choice advances the interests of the oil and gas industry more than it offers any real relief for British Columbians. In fact, this choice is at the cost of British Columbians - young British Columbians in particular. Our youth are not only facing the most COVID-related job losses but will also shoulder the long-term burden of this recession, in addition to the cost of climate change and the health care costs of an ageing population," said MLA Sonia Furstenau for Cowichan Valley.
Allowing large polluters to avoid the tax increase as legislated is lost revenue that weakens our ability to pursue a healthy recovery and pay for the job programs that are so essential to that recovery. The loss in revenue is also a missed opportunity to provide much-needed supports for demographics such as marginalized communities and low-income families that have been hit hard by the pandemic.
“This approach misses the mark and weakens the signal that we can build back better,” said MLA Furstenau. “It is British Columbians who pay for the impacts of climate change. We pay for floods, we pay to fight fires, our health suffers when we don't have clean air to breathe or fresh water to drink. We even pay to clean up after polluting companies when they go bankrupt and leave abandoned gas wells or leaching mines behind. Instead of weakening the carbon tax for heavy emitting sectors, we should be leaning into the opportunity it provides to reinvest in economic recovery.”
- Carbon Tax Act: B.C.’s broad-based carbon tax puts a price on greenhouse gas emissions. This provides an incentive for sustainable choices that produce fewer emissions. The escalating tax was phased in on July 1, 2008. Beginning April 1, 2018, B.C.'s carbon tax rate is $35 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. The tax rate will increase each year by $5 per tonne until it reaches $50 per tonne in 2021. New revenue generated from the increasing carbon tax is used to protect affordability, maintain industry competitiveness, and encourage new clean initiatives.
B.C. Green Caucus
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