Premier Christy Clark announces her climate action advisory team in May 2015

Raise carbon tax, B.C. advisors recommend

Too late to meet 2020 greenhouse gas reduction target, panel tells Environment Minister Mary Polak and Premier Christy Clark

The B.C. government’s climate advisory panel wants to start increasing the province’s carbon tax with a 33 per cent jump in 2018, and says even with higher fuel tax the province won’t meet its current target to reduce greenhouse gases one third by 2020.

The carbon tax has been frozen at $30 a tonne since 2013, a rate that translates to about seven cents a litre on gasoline and similar taxes on diesel, natural gas and other carbon-based fuels. The government’s advisory team recommends increasing the carbon tax by $10 a tonne each year starting in 2018, with increased rebates for low-income and rural B.C. residents.

Environment Minister Mary Polak released the panel’s recommendations Friday, as the B.C. delegation led by Premier Christy Clark prepares to attend the United Nations climate change meetings in Paris next week.

Polak was skeptical about one of the panel’s recommendations, to cut the provincial sales tax from seven per cent to six and replace the revenues through higher carbon taxes in the years ahead.

“It is one of their recommendations, and so we’ll be looking at it along with the others, but I think at first blush, the numbers probably don’t work,” Polak said.

The panel, appointed in May with industry and environmental representatives, concluded that the 2020 reduction target isn’t going to be met. It recommends a new target of a 40 per cent reduction by 2030, and says the original target of an 80 per cent cut can still be reached with “aggressive” carbon pricing and expansion of the tax to include industrial emissions.

Polak said she accepts that assessment, and will consult with industry and B.C. residents before setting new policies next spring to meet the new 2030 target.

NDP leader John Horgan said the Clark government has frozen the carbon tax and delayed progress on Metro Vancouver transit with a referendum they expected would fail.

“Rather than reduce emissions, they’ve gone up,” Horgan said. “And we’re not even counting liquefied natural gas.”

Green Party MLA Andrew Weaver said the recommendation to resume increases in the carbon tax is “bold,” but the report also shows Clark’s government gave up on the 2020 target that is still in legislation.

“The key thing is that these recommendations are completely incompatible with the government’s LNG plan,” Weaver said.

 

Just Posted

CSRD board approves pay increase for directors

Remuneration bylaw will come into effect after election of new board

Iconic Shuswap sternwheeler undergoing work for return to service

Sicamous business owner Mike Helfrick hopes to offer dinner tours on historic vessel

CSRD looking into upgrades for Scotch Creek Water Plan

District beginning feasibility study for future upgrades

Race is on for Shuswap late-run sockeye salmon

New estimates say about 750,000 sockeye will spawn on the Adams River, similar to 2014 dominant run

Salmon Arm library to undergo upgrades over the winter

New meeting space planned for Okanagan Regional Library’s Salmon Arm branch

Your weekend weather update

Rain continues to move right across the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

B.C. premier apologizes for removal of 1950s totem pole at Canada-U.S. border

First Nations say pole was raised at Peace Arch but removed to make way for tourism centre

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

Low risk associated with case of pneumococcal disease in the South Okanagan

No identified risk to the public from recent case of pneumococcal disease with associated meningitis

An unexpected sight: Bear spotted eating another bear in central B.C.

Cheslatta Carrier Nation Chief finds bear eating another bear’s carcass

RCMP confirm death of missing BC teen Jessica Patrick

No details on cause were given. Case is under criminal investigation and police are asking for tips.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. teen with autism a talented guitarist

Farley Mifsud is gaining fans with every performance

Yukon man facing new attempted murder charge in B.C. exploding mail case

Leon Nepper, 73, is now facing one charge each of aggravated assault and attempted murder

Most Read