BTC: We report, you decide - Macleans.ca

BTC: We report, you decide

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As noted below, the Prime Minister stood for his last answer today with some interesting news. “The other option, of course, that Ontario and Quebec do not seem to like would be the option of imposing carbon taxes and I can assure everyone when I was in Europe last week, nobody wants that either.”

I’m not much of an economist (never mind an environmentalist or social scientist), so far be it from me to comment directly on the accuracy of the Prime Minister’s assessment. I can though—indeed some meddlesome media ethicists might argue I have a responsibility to—acknowledge what others of more knowledge and schooling have said. So here goes.

The helpfully named Carbon Tax Center points to Finland, some 18 years ago, as the first country to legislate a carbon tax. Sweden apparently followed suit a year later and Britain has since enacted a “climate change levy.”

A 2004 paper out of Berkeley, linked to by the CTC, says “carbon taxes have been introduced in Denmark,  Sweden, Norway, Finland, Italy, the Netherlands, and the United Kingdom,” while “broader energy taxes” were in place in Germany, Austria and Belgium.

This Wikipedia entry, meanwhile, puts the adherents at Sweden, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Italy and the UK. And, for whatever it’s worth, this AFP dispatch of some months ago has Nicolas Sarkozy endorsing a carbon tax for France.

At last report, all of the above countries were still part of Europe. And several of them have even been visited by our Prime Minister.

(In other news, in a scrum after QP today, John Baird vowed that the “first draft” of his government’s regulations should be available by the fall of 2009.)