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They love their carbon tax in Vancover, British Columbia

Worthwhile Canadian initiative, the round bacon-eating Communists. Atlantic Cities:

Suppose that you live in Vancouver and you drive a car to work. Naturally, you have to get gas regularly. When you stop at the pump, you may see a notice like the one below, explaining that part of the price you're paying is, in effect, due to the cost of carbon. That's because in 2008, the government of British Columbia decided to impose a tax on greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, enacting what has been called "the most significant carbon tax in the Western Hemisphere by far."

A carbon tax is just what it sounds like: The BC government levies a fee, currently 30 Canadian dollars, for every metric ton of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions resulting from the burning of various fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and, of course, coal. That amount is then included in the price you pay at the pump—for gasoline, it's 6.67 cents per liter (about 25 cents per gallon)—or on your home heating bill, or wherever else the tax applies. (Canadian dollars are currently worth about 89 American cents).

Sure, the tax may cost you if you drive your car a great deal, or if you have high home gas heating costs. But it also gives you the opportunity to save a lot of money if you change your habits, for instance by driving less or buying a more fuel-efficient vehicle. That's because the tax is designed to be "revenue neutral"—the money it raises goes right back to citizens in the form of tax breaks. Overall, the tax has brought in some $5 billion in revenue so far, and more than $3 billion has then been returned in the form of business tax cuts, along with over $1 billion in personal tax breaks, and nearly $1 billion in low-income tax credits (to protect those for whom rising fuel costs could mean the greatest economic hardship). According to the BC Ministry of Finance, for individuals who earn up to $122,000, income tax rates in the province are now Canada's lowest.

Well, none of this will happen here because markets.

At some point in the future, by which I most definitely mean not now, I'm going to have to come up with proposals for #12, Carbon-Negative Economy. But it's nice to see there are actual working models like Vancouver's to look at. (And I have to say that the whole cap-and-trade and carbon credits thing looked more like a way to funnel money to brokers than anything else. A carbon tax seems pretty straightforward. Of course, Al Gore is fat.

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V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on Just how is the B.C. carbon tax effective? How is any carbon tax effective? IMO, it's a cruel trick.
I'm somewhat more radical in my approach. Ban the fucking automobile in all cities over one million population. Give a period of one year to do this, with performance proof/progress required along the way and heavy (and I mean heavy) penalties for failure to comply or late compliance.
China has an advantage; they can decree anything and it is done.
We on the other hand are Sophists who love the game; well the games nearly over...

gizzardboy's picture
Submitted by gizzardboy on

That may be so, but here is something that might help raise awareness: A little sticker added to every self-service gas pump that would say: "Every gallon of gas you burn adds a pound of climate altering carbon to the air". Anybody with a computer printer and a page of stick-on address labels could make the stickers. Everybody filling up with gas has nothing better to do than stare at the pump while the gas pours in. It would get a lot of reads.

In the interest of accuracy, I'm not sure whether the pound per gallon is carbon or CO2. It has been a long time since I read the statistic.