Breaking: British Columbia not yet destroyed by carbon tax -

Breaking: British Columbia not yet destroyed by carbon tax

A new report on the impact of taxing carbon


A new report from Sustainable Prosperity suggests that British Columbia’s carbon tax has not yet rendered the province a barren hellscape where those who’ve managed to maintain their sanity struggle daily to survive amid the constant threats of roaming tribes of cannibals and a unique species of superwolf that it turns out our carbon emissions were suppressing.

BC took a risk in introducing the carbon tax, which was initially quite controversial. It is one of the few North America states or provinces with a price on carbon — a price that is among the highest in the world. That risk seems to have been rewarded. BC households and businesses now pay the lowest income taxes in Canada, due to the tax shift, and use the least amount of fuel per capita of any Canadian province. BC is also decoupling its economic growth from fuel consumption (and GHG emissions) faster than the rest of Canada. In other words, it is building a low carbon economy – which should position it well for future success if global markets continue to evolve in that direction. It will also help to shelter the BC economy from future petroleum price increases and volatility. 

Finally, it is also worth briefly noting the carbon tax’s political impacts. The opposition NDP made the tax a major issue in the 2009 provincial election, but it did not hurt the governing Liberal party that introduced it, as they achieved a small gain in seats. The carbon tax now enjoys bipartisan support, and a 64 percent public approval rating (Environics 2012) – remarkable for a tax. Thus, the actual experience with carbon taxation in BC – its environmental, economic and political impacts – appears to be directly opposite to the perceived reality in the federal political debate on this issue.

British Columbia’s own review of the carbon tax is here, with a breakdown of the tax measures here. The province identifies a “a small negative impact on gross domestic product (GDP) in the province,” while Sustainable Prosperity notes that “BC’s economy has slightly outperformed the rest of the country over the period that the carbon tax has been in place.”

Christy Clark’s government is planning to push other jurisdictions in North America to follow the province’s lead.

Meanwhile, Massachusetts might soon have a referendum on taxing carbon, while Kevin Drum wonders if a price on carbon will be the result of Barack Obama’s rush for new regulations. Australia has dumped its carbon tax, but replaced it with cap-and-trade. And a former Calgary city councillor wonders if a carbon tax could be used to pay for the infrastructure and reconstruction necessary to deal with extreme weather.


Breaking: British Columbia not yet destroyed by carbon tax

  1. Good heavens….people with brains, and the ability to think for the future.

    • Which doesn’t include the BC NDP, who opposed the BC carbon tax.

      • Well they did it for political purposes, but it didn’t work. I’m just glad they didn’t get in.

      • The hapless NDP flip flopped on the Carbon Tax and that is just one of the reasons why the electorate abandoned them. With one week left in the politicing before election day the NDP lost votes on their Carbon Tax two step, Adrians drowned gopher appearance when replying to the forged date on a document question didn’t help either, and his pipeline flipflop as well didn’t help.A very well orchestrated political suicide tactic that ventures on the edge of stupidity. Maybe the NDP saw the books and didn’t want to be handcuffed to the task of managing that fiasco. We’ve got the right party in there now that will have to fess up for the disasters they created, better them with pie on their faces, coming to a theater near you soon !

  2. All I know is the term ‘barren hellscape’ doesn’t get used enough.

    • You evidently haven’t been following the Jays this season.

      • That IS a barren hellscape. Maybe the BC Carbon Tax has something to do with it.

  3. ” ….. for this is something that people don’t seem to realise about Nordic tax systems. In many ways they are more regressive (yes, regressive, not progressive) than our own. This is because those countries follow the basic economics of taxation. You need low corporate and capital taxation, moderate income taxation and high taxes on consumption.

    As the OECD helpfully points out, all taxes have deadweight costs. These are economic activity that doesn’t happen because of the presence of the tax. Different taxes have different deadweights. The aim is obviously to collect the money you need while destroying as little economic activity as possible. For the amount of money you collect in tax, property taxes destroy the least activity, consumption taxes a little more, income more than that and the most destructive are taxes on capital and companies. So that’s what the Nordics do: low capital and corporate taxes, high VAT.”

    • So Harper promptly cut our VAT….the GST.

      • Frederic Bastiat – Hence it follows that the bad economist pursues a small present good, which will be followed by a great evil to come, while the true economist pursues a great good to come, – at the risk of a small present evil.

        I wasn’t expecting much from Harper admin but their economic policies have been worse than I feared. Flaherty is an awful Fin Minister, I think Flaherty stays in place so long because Harper does not want to create a rival. Flaherty is ill, he’s not going to be next leader of Con Party, why not have some vigour in portfolio.

        • Yeah, it’s gonna take a lot of work to straighten out this mess once Harper and Flaherty are gone. The incompetence is mind-boggling.

    • Why do none of the CTax advocates mention that, since day 1, most large energy-intensive industries in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands have always been 70% to 100% exempt from those nations’ direct and indirect carbon taxes, and often 100% exempt from all other energy taxes (duties, levies, excise, etc.) In every case, more than 100% of the carbon tax burdens (after we account for increases in other energy tax exemptions) are born by non-industrial residential and small business consumers.
      That is why the average appartment dweller in Norway now pays over CAD$0.48/kWh for electreicity, while a Norwegian power producer, refinery, chemical plant or almunimum smelter pays less than CAD$0.06/kWh for the same power.
      Like this? That is where these guys want to take us?

      • That actually opens discussion up on a larger issue, which is the Scandinavian countries’ huge reliance on value-added or commodity taxes generally (VATs). Last time I was in Norway, the VAT — their equivalent of our GST — was 26%. A lot of left-leaning social-democrat types in Canada point to the Scandinavian countries as some sort of progressive valhalla, but they don’t like to mention little details like that. I think Scandinavia is lovely and the people there live well, but I take your point that it would be extremely difficult and wrenching for us to adopt their model of taxation — consumers are very heavily taxed there. They receive a lot in benefits, but that comes at a significant price.

      • 90% of BCs energy comes from Hydro Electric Sources, bought and paid for by BC taxpayers and consumers, not one red cent comes from government coffers. Hydro has always arranged for it own financing and the government only underwites the debt which in history has never been called upon to pay anything. In fact if government was to leave Hydros net revenue alone the power producer would have more than enough cash to build new plants, repair old ones and maintain the lowest power rates in north America.

  4. Does this reduced consumption take into account the lineups at the US border, not just weekend shoppers but anyone who wants to take a roadtrip vacation? I know I haven’t vacationed in Canada for years due to high taxes. I (and many, many others) vote with my feet.

    • Do you think Canada should have the same tax rate as the US?

      I would point out that Canada is physically larger, has a more diverse climate requiring more infrastructure expenses, and a much much lower population resulting in a much smaller tax base. We simply cannot lower taxes to US levels. It is not possible.

      In any event, I know far more people who holiday in Canada than who holiday in the US.

    • So… Vacationing in Europe is out of the question for you?

    • There have been line ups at the borders and cross-border shoppers for as long as I’ve lived in this country. Do you have any numbers that indicate that the volume of cross-border shopping has increased, specifically over the BC-Washington border, and more specifically since the carbon tax has come into being?

  5. This comment was deleted.

    • Willard Anthony Watts (Anthony Watts) is a blogger, weathercaster and non-scientist, paid AGW denier who runs the website
      He does not have a university qualification and has no climate
      credentials other than being a radio weather announcer. His website is
      parodied and debunked at the website Watts is on the payroll of the Heartland Institute, which itself is funded by polluting industries.[1]

      • So, can you dispute the facts presented, or are you gonna stick with character assasination in place of an actual argument?

        • LOL

        • Once arguments are debunked, it’s not necessary to continually refute them every time they are repeated by mouth-breathing oil company toadies like Watts (no character assassination intended)

          • Repeating, ad nauseum “the science is settled” doesn’t debunk a single damn thing except for the idea that you might be an independently thinking human being.

          • Yeah, but ad hominem attacks — like calling someone you disagree with a mouth-breathing oil company toady — that’s a refutation that the Harvard Debating Society would heartily approve of.

          • So, you folks beholden to Big Banks are somehow better than Big Oil? Because you DO realize the ‘Carbon Tax’ goes to the IMF/Big Banks….right?

      • Global warming has been on “pause” for 15 years, according to scientists with the United Kingdom’s Meteorological Office. In a set of three new reports, researchers believe that global average temperatures have not risen as fast as predicted. The GW alarmist have finally admitted that global warming stopped a long time ago. The climate scientists do not understand what controls the climate. Climate change is a natural occurring thing over the decades and centuries. Until they can give all the data and formulas that prove something we should not jump to conclusions about the climate. Look up about the missing heat on Google and when they know where it is I will start believing what they say.

        • Weirder still, the AGW crowd can’t seem to explain why ice caps on Mars are shrinking, and some moons that were ice are now liquid…
          Couldn’t be the SUN…oh God no. It’s all because of Carbon, the most plentiful solid element in the Universe….
          Of course, to these brainiacs, only a tax paid to the Ultra Rich will save us.
          I guess planting trees is too tough to do for a lefty…

          • AHAHAHAHAHA!

          • So…this is all crap because we ‘don’t know enough about Mars’ climate’? Sure, the temps are rising (or at least heavily indicated to be), and the temps on Earth are NOTHING like what the ‘models’ predicted….
            But Global Warming is real! Now PAY YOUR CARBON TAX, PLEBIAN.
            No thanks.

          • Which ice moons have melted recently? I call bullsh!t.

        • “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” ― Neil deGrasse Tyson

          • Know what else is good? Evidence is evidence, regardless of how many scientists ‘agree’. Consensus in the scientific community is common…sort of like how the World was considered flat, the Earth was the center of the Solar System, or the Milky Way is the entirety of the Universe (that last one was from the 1920′).
            But, lots of Governments depend on those who blindly follow any authority figure they come across, so people like Emily here ARE quite useful.

          • Scientists never thought anything of the sort…..religious people did.

            Science has to be proved, not speculated on or ‘believed’, to be science.

          • “Scientists never thought anything of the sort…..religious people did.”
            Careful there filly, your bias and ignorance is showing. Might want to look into some History before you start saying patently absurd things like that….

          • LOL idjit.

      • Right. And Al Gore spent his entire career as a brilliant scientist, doesn’t make ANY money from AGW hysterics. How many climate hysterics out there have a significant vested interest in continuing fear mongering? EVERY ONE OF THEM.

        • Oh I think you’ll find Gore actually has an education, and qualifications.

          Watt has nothing

          • And we all know that only Authority Figures are right. About anything. because they got an indoctrination…er…’Education’ to prove it.
            What was that Stalin said about those who are ‘useful’ again?

          • War is peace, freedom is slavery, education is bad, ignorance is good, right?

            Dark in your cave is it?

          • I dunno, you’re the Post Modernist Leftist that believes all that crap. why don’t you tell me?

          • Never been leftist in my life….sorry.

            PS If you’re going to use Newspeak on here you should at least recognize where it comes from.

          • If a snide reference to Orwell is the best you got, you’re WAY out of your intellectual depth.

          • LOL this from someone who said scientists claimed the earth was flat.

      • Coming from a lunatic like you, that’s a ringing endorsement. You’re the same person who denigrated Roy Spencer in the same way (he recently testified to Congress on the subject of climate change).
        It’s kind of funny how a crazy Ontario separatist like you makes such judgements about other people. A used-car salesman has more credibility than you.

        • Click on the url, doofus.

          Praying to St Peter won’t help you.

          You’ve picked yet another whacko to follow.

          • You’re too afraid to actually talk about the facts. Typical. Enjoy that 3/1000 of a degree of cooling – you don’t even need an air conditioner anymore.

          • LOL the facts are already known….not my problem you’re uneducated, and therefore gullible.

          • sourcewatch is in the pay of left wing lunatics like you. Watts is not in the pay of Heartland, that’s false. The purpose of is to spread propaganda and lies so that people like you can pretend to be credible towards gullible people and complete idiots.

          • Yes, so now you wish to prove that sourcewatch is a left-wing propaganda outfit. Thanks.

          • LIke I said, you are uneducated and gullible.

          • It’s the modern equivalent of burning someone at the stake….you don’t actually need a stake and matches anymore, you just harass, sue, run up his bills, and try to ruin a scientist’s reputation so he loses money and years fighting the nonsense, and even jobs.

            No different than the asses who ‘judged’ Galileo.

            Eppur si muove

          • You’ve got it backwards. I presented facts, so does Spencer and Watts, and you’re the one who harasses people with nothing but innuendo, not to mention you’ve tried to ruin Watts’ reputation on this very page, you twit. Look in the mirror.

          • No, you presented your usual rubbish with your usual ignorant arrogance.

            The west is going downhill because of people like you.

          • …says the Ontario separatist who spews propaganda all over this web site.

          • Uneducated turkeys like you are the reason I’m an Ont separatist.

          • That makes no sense. That’s not unusual for you.

          • Like I said….you’re stupid.

          • …says the lunatic.

          • Look in the mirror.

          • You’ve used that one several times, bright eyes.

          • Look in the mirror.

    • So BC’s economy improved more than every other province, but their gasoline usage increase is only the 4th highest.

      Do you understand the term “efficiency”?

      • What the heck are you talking about? The carbon tax had a negative impact on GDP.
        I’m talking about whether the tax actually achieved a useful purpose of any sort whatsoever, and you’re going off on some ridiculous tangent about the correlation between gasoline usage and GDP, which of course is loosely correlated. It might be a stronger correlation if every single person in BC worked as a truck driver. I suppose that will be your next ridiculous point – there are no lawyers or doctors or white collar workers of any kind in BC, there are only truck drivers, and the people of BC use gasoline only to drive trucks and power chainsaws, they use it for nothing else.

        • My mistake. I said improved. The actual quote is outperformed.
          The rest of it still stands.

          • Yes, the rest of it stands as a testament of stupidity.

        • Again, do you know what “efficiency” means?

          • Yes, but you don’t.

    • Not throwing litter out of your car window has achieved a _____thousands of a % reduction in roadside litter. Guess its time to start tossing.

      • That’s a stupid analogy. The reduction of three thousandths of a degree of cooling applies to the entire province. If everyone in BC starting throwing trash out the window, the increase in trash would not be less than a thousandth of a percent, the trash would increase dramatically.
        I would nominate that comment for dumbest comment of the month.

        • Global roadside trash would increase dramatically if BCers started throwing trash out the window?
          Who knew!

        • So you would mind Ontaro dumping its nuclear waste by venting it in fine particle form in the atmosphere, as long as it represented a small increase in radioactive particles? Feel the same way if every other jurisdiction did the same thing?

  6. Spin the carbon tax all you like. The price of everything increased and more and more people are going into debt. No one has stopped buying gas.

    • Actually they have, wherever possible.

      • Not in the slightest. Gas usage in BC has gone up since the carbon tax.

        • Enough with the nonsense. Off you go.

  7. Hogwash, the price of everything has gone up, no one has been crowing about how little income tax they pay and very few have changed their behavior. I have a very small personal so called carbon footprint but I think carbon taxes are a fraud to support one world government.

    • LOL well it has nothing to do with ‘one world govt’…..that’s coming anyway ….but just because your friends don’t do something doesn’t mean others are the same.

      • If people like you have their way there will be a one world gov. If we stand up to petty tyrants, that outcome is quite a bit less certain.

        • One world govt is a good thing…..far more freedom than there is now.

          • “One world govt is a good thing…..”
            I see. Now that I have your measure, I know what I’m dealing with. A globalist moron blindly following her ‘betters’ into the Abyss.
            Good on ya sister. but you are FAR from the right person the heap scorn on ANYONE with that kind of blind faith. Makes Religious Zealots look reasonable by comparison.
            Go ahead and be a True Believer all you like, not everyone is quite so gullible or weak as to follow you down that road.

          • Has nothing to do with religion. Sorry.

          • The Progressive Liberal outlook IS a religion, in all but name. In fact, it’s most ardent adherents, such as you seem to be, ROUTINELY reject facts, logic, reason, or anything else that challenges their worldview, and instead usually resort to name calling and ad hominem attack.

            Which, I should point out, is about all you ever do.

            I don’t think I will ever shake your True Beliefs(tm)
            And given how repugnant those beliefs are, I’ll content myself with quietly being disgusted and ignoring you from this point on.

          • Liberals are a political party in Canada

            Liberalism is a philosophy in the world. The one that’s winning.

            And claiming things are religions when they are not is crazy.

            I am not a Liberal. And I have no beliefs. Sorry.

            But if it stops you from posting crap on here, I’m delighted.

          • “I have no beliefs.”

            Awesome. You just get better and better.

          • I’ve said I was an atheist on here many times.

    • BC has the lowest personal tax rates in Canada. They should be crowing!

  8. But BC’s carbon tax is a fraud, because they don’t intend to count or tax carbon emissions from the natural gas used to produce LNG for export.

    • i.e. The Chinese and the Malaysians are going to be exempted from the tax for their LNG terminals.

    • I think you need to check the dictionary definition for fraud. You’re using it wrong.

  9. What useless spin:

    BC households and businesses now pay the lowest income taxes in Canada, due to the tax shift…

    Well that’s all fine and dandy, but how much MORE are they paying in the carbon tax? You can’t do a “shift” without also adding something to the equation, but it would seem the ideologues who wrote this report didn’t want to acknowledge that inconvenient truth.


    • It was revenue negative. BC really does have the lowest income tax rates. How is that spin or lies?

  10. So Wherry, you’ve set the bar pretty low. Can’t wait for your post on the actual intended goals of the carbon tax:

    -reduced usage of fossil fuels
    -reduction in temperature

    Instead you post about the fact that there there is economic damage but it could be worse. And you’ve got that quote that economic growth is decoupled from fuel consumption, which is another way of saying that you’ve seriously damaged the sectors of the economy that require fuel consumption! But fuel consumption has gone up! Hip hip hooray!

    Hip Hip Hooray! The pointless carbon tax is not as damaging as it might have been, yet it serves no purpose. Hip hip hooray!

    • BC emissions rose much less than the rest of Canada. It’s not much of a stretch to say that the carbon tax had something to do with that.

      Here’s an analogy: your house is on fire. While waiting for the fire department to show up, your neighbour takes his garden hose and starts spraying water on the fire. The fire continues to grow, albeit hampered in a few spots from the hose. Do you scream at him: “Are you mad?!? Your hose has not completely put out the fire–it’s totally ineffective! Stop wasting your water on my burning house!”

  11. The Sustainable Prosperity report ignores natural gas and coal! As such it ignores about 2/3 of the emissions inventory ie emission from the industrial and residential/commercial sectors.

    Apples and Oranges.

    • It’s completely in line with what they call ‘sustainable development’, which is basically cater to big business under the environmental rubric.

  12. “BC households and businesses now pay the lowest income taxes in
    Canada, due to the tax shift, and use the least amount of fuel per
    capita of any Canadian province. BC is also decoupling its economic
    growth from fuel consumption (and GHG emissions) faster than the rest of

    The taxes paid by British Columbian’s have continued to increase over the last three decades.

    The governments claim of BCer’s using the least amount of fuel per
    capita of any Canadian province is laughable.

    The 18 percent decease claimed is more than offset by the the increasing numbers of people crossing the border to get cheaper fuel in the US.

    Australia is repealing their national carbon tax.

    • Opposition Leader Tony Abbott is looking more likely to be able to
      make good on his oft-repeated assertions to scrap the carbon tax should
      the Coalition win government in September.

      Analysis of voting trends shows that should the present
      pattern continue to the election, the Coalition would effectively
      control both houses of parliament, making it powerful enough to repeal
      the carbon tax.

      While Prime Minister Julia Gillard has previously claimed Mr
      Abbott will not have the numbers to honour his ”blood pledge” to scrap
      the carbon tax, an analysis of Senate seats up for re-election reveals a
      majority will likely fall into conservative hands.

      Senior lecturer in politics at Griffith University Paul
      Williams said ”there should be no electoral or numerical obstacles to
      Tony Abbott repealing the act early in his first term”.

  13. Our floods in Calgary, High River, and Toronto have sure ramped up this discussion on climate change. Want to have your say, and get a feel for what other Canadians are saying?
    Carbon Conversations is a two-minute, anonymous online survey. The five questions, and postal codes, each lead into a separate word cloud where the larger a word appears, the more often it has been used in the survey responses. Click on any word cloud to activate it, then click again to zoom in and roam around the smaller, less-used responses.