Carbon tax is good for B.C. say business, environmental and community leadersNew study finds consensus across sectors on concern for climate change and need for climate policies such as a carbon tax

June 25, 2012

VANCOUVER — A new study investigating a broad range of perspectives on British Columbia’s carbon tax shows that, across economic and social sectors, most think the policy has been positive for the province.

The study, British Columbia’s carbon tax: Exploring perspectives and seeking common ground, released today by the Pembina Institute and Energy and Materials Research Group at Simon Fraser University, interviewed representatives from B.C. businesses, non-government organizations, academics and community leaders, asking about the effectiveness of the carbon tax to date and how it could be improved. 

Of those interviewed a strong majority (64%) said that the carbon tax has had positive consequences for the province, while only a small minority (18%) believed the policy to have had negative consequences so far.

Important points of consensus among interviewees include a concern that climate change represents a serious threat to B.C.’s environment and economy and that government policy — including carbon taxes — is needed to minimize those risks.

“This research gives clear backing to the steps the province has already taken and points to several opportunities where steps forward would be broadly supported,” says Matt Horne, director of the Pembina Institute’s climate change program and lead author of the report. “With the province undertaking a carbon tax review, and seemingly stalled on the next steps in its climate change plan, these findings will hopefully reinvigorate their efforts.”

When asked about the future of the carbon tax, participants were split on whether or not it should continue to increase in the absence of similar policies elsewhere in North America. However, there was strong support to fill the gaps left from the province's stalled effort on cap-and-trade and to use at least a portion of any new carbon tax revenue to invest in projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

“Four years into B.C.'s carbon tax experiment, there are some challenges the province needs to confront and also many encouraging signs of support and early success,” says Horne. “Other provinces and the federal government need to consider these lessons and move ahead with similar types of policies if Canada is going to improve on its poor track record of dealing with climate change.”

The data for this project was collected through a total of 39 confidential interviews that were conducted between the summer and fall of 2011.

Support from the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) made this research possible.


Learn more: British Columbia’s carbon tax: Exploring perspectives and seeking common ground.


Matt Horne
Director, climate change

Kevin Sauve
Communications lead


To learn more about British Columbian’s support for the carbon tax, read: Measuring the appetite for climate action in British Columbia.

Read the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy’s report comparing provincial climate change policies in Canada, Reality Check: The state of climate progress in Canada.


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