VANCOUVER — A diverse group of businesses from across British Columbia are urging Premier Christy Clark to commit to unfreezing and strengthening the province’s widely lauded carbon tax.
More than 130 businesses — including MEC, Modo, NEI Investments, False Creek Collision and SFU Community Trust — are together calling on the provincial government to increase the carbon tax by $10 per tonne per year, starting in July 2018. They agree that taking the next steps on the carbon tax will benefit B.C.’s economy, help clean energy and clean tech businesses thrive, and encourage businesses to be better partners in reducing carbon pollution.
“In 2008, the Climate Action Plan — with the carbon tax as its central pillar — helped move the province’s economy ahead, it helped boost the province’s reputation and it helped the environment,” reads an open letter, released today and signed by the businesses. “Taking the next steps on the carbon tax as part of the Climate Leadership Plan is an opportunity to build on those initial successes, and it is an opportunity we must seize as a province.”
Strengthening the carbon tax is central to the 32 recommendations issued by the province’s Climate Leadership Team, composed of experts from the business, academic, and environmental communities, and representatives from the B.C. government, First Nations, and local governments. The team also recommended using incremental carbon tax revenue to reduce other taxes; support vulnerable residents; maintain the competiveness of emission-intensive, trade-exposed sectors; and invest in innovation and climate solutions.
“These decisions should be finalized this spring as part of the Climate Leadership Plan,” the open letter says. “Communicating the decisions early will give businesses and British Columbians time to plan and figure out the solutions that make the most sense for them.”
The Board of Change, Clean Energy BC, Climate Smart Businesses Inc., the Pembina Institute and Clean Energy Canada initiated the open letter.
Last week, the government extended the public comment period for the Climate Leadership Plan to April 8.
- As of 2014, more than 68,000 British Columbians worked in clean economy jobs — up 12.5 per cent from 2010.
- Close to one-third of B.C.’s carbon pollution is under the control of the province’s 170,000 small and medium-sized businesses.
- B.C.’s carbon pollution is currently projected to increase by 32 per cent by 2030 unless the government implements ambitious new policies.
“Strengthening B.C.’s carbon tax, as recommended by the Climate Leadership Team, supports our economic, environmental and social objectives. It’s time to unfreeze the carbon tax.”
— Sonny Wong, founder and chair, Board of Change
“B.C. can unleash billions of dollars of investment in clean energy with an ambitious Climate Leadership Plan. A strengthened carbon tax should be a key part of the plan.”
— Paul Kariya, executive director, Clean Energy BC
“B.C.’s businesses are a big part of the climate solution; with the right policies in place, they can save money and boost profits. A strengthened carbon tax, coupled with incentives like an investment credit, will encourage businesses to accelerate investments in our shared future.”
— Elizabeth Sheehan, president, Climate Smart Businesses Inc.
“B.C.’s carbon pollution is going up and new policies have lagged behind progress in other provinces. If the Climate Leadership Plan is to live up to its name, it must include a strengthened carbon tax.”
— Matt Horne, B.C. associate director, Pembina Institute
“The global clean energy market is growing quickly. Strong climate policy at home — including a rising carbon tax — drives business innovation enabling B.C. businesses to compete and win both at home and abroad.”
— Jeremy Moorhouse, senior analyst, Clean Energy Canada
Download the open letter: B.C. businesses support a stronger carbon tax
Join the conversation on Twitter: #BCClimatePlan