Ottawa

'A carbon tax should be atop the list'

The Washington Post advises American lawmakers to consider a carbon tax.

Now if there were just some policy that would reduce carbon emissions and raise federal ­revenue . . . . A tax on carbon, of course, is that policy, and lawmakers and the president should be discussing it. The idea is to put a simple price on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases — some dollar amount per ton of CO² — that steadily increases at a pre-set rate.

This is the best plan lawmakers can take off the shelf to fight global warming. As an added benefit, it would reduce dependence on imported oil. If businesses and consumers had to pay something for the otherwise invisible costs of their actions — in this case, pollution — they would be more careful. Their combined preferences, not those of Congress or bureaucrats, would determine how to wring carbon out of the economy.

In December 2008, Stephen Harper acknowledged that he couldn’t rule out implementing a carbon tax here if the United States decided to do so.