Carole Taylor, Finance Minister of Canada's western-most province (British Columbia) delivered the provincial budget on Tuesday and introduced what would be the first carbon tax in North America. The tax will be applied to fossil fuels used for driving and heating at $10 per tonne of greenhouse gases emitted. That will amount to roughly 9.1 cents per U.S. gallon on gasoline starting on July 1 of this year. That amount will gradually rise to $30 per tonne in 2012. The $1.85 billion raised by the new tax will be offset by cuts in income and business tax rates.
Unfortunately the tax is only expected to reduce the province's greenhouse gas emissions by about 4.5 percent, at best. BC Priemer Gordan Campbell had promised to reduce emissions by 33 percent by 2020. Why the disconnect? Industrial emissions like the methane from industrial farms and landfills and emissions from oil and gas producers - which make up a third of the carbon output of the province - are left untouched. Even the 7.4 cents tax per liter of gasoline in 2012 is not likely to have a great deal of impact on peoples behavior when prices regularly swing more than that anyway. At least someone has taken a first step, even if it is a baby one.

[Source: Financial Post, thanks to Mike for the tip]


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