Wednesday, June 20, 2007

No Danger in Implementing a Carbon Tax

Fighting global warming with a carbon tax would cause virtually no negative economic impact in first two years and offer an economic boost thereafter.

At $50, a carbon tax would shave about $4.8-billion from Canada's GDP in 2010, which works out to about 0.09 per cent of GDP. However by 2020, the impact would become slightly positive for the economy, working out to a 0.004 per cent increase to the GDP.

That is the result of an internal report prepared for the Conservative government, and obtained by Green Party Leader Elizabeth May through an access to information request.

The report was written by economist Mark Jaccard and analyzes the potential impacts of various climate change measures on Canada's GDP including carbon taxes ranging from $10 to $250. If you're not familiar with Mark Jaccard, you should be. He is one of the world's foremost experts specializing in energy related issues and policy. Jaccard's also been a vocal advocate for the development of a sustainable energy future for the province of BC, but although he consistently has the ear of environmental advocates, he is not an "environmentalist".

His views are those of an informed realist that recognizes the need to meet the energy needs of the developing world as well as the critical goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. He's not against the use of fossil fuels, but he is adamantly in favour of creating policy and economic systems that encourage the solutions we need to drastically curb emissions.

Now with the release of Jaccard's expertly informed report, Canada's governing party have themselves in a pickle and have been resisting a scheduled appearance of Dr. Jaccard before the House of Commons environment committee - an appearance that would likely result in the Tory's own hired consultant stating that there is no reason to delay the implementation of a substantial carbon tax to curb greenhouse gas emissions.


Sue said...

I followed the "carbon tax" link to the Globe and Mail article, and was struck by the level of discussion posted for this article. A U.S. citizen living in the heart of the coal fields of Kentucky, I am not accustomed to seeing rational discourse on the topic of reducing carbon. I obviously thought some of the arguments were better than others, and some of the posters conveniently overlooked the facts as presented in the article. But even when I disagreed with the posters, I was struck by their generally rational tone. In Kentucky coal is king (some might even say "God") and to speak about limiting carbon is to speak treason (or from the tone of some of the rhetoric, blasphemy).

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