FEATURED COMMENT – Carbon tax is short-term pain for long-term gain, but it should have one purpose only

GasRe: Alan Forseth column, “We don’t have a carbon tax, we have a consumption tax on hydrocarbons,” Feb. 20, 2017.”

In my simple world, a carbon tax should have one purpose only: encourage us to transition to non-carbon energy sources.

Implementing it seems simple enough – tax the carbon-based products. If people don’t like the added costs, they should look for ways to improve efficiency or transition to a different energy source.

How should the tax money be spent? In my opinion, in ways that directly support energy transitions for those who are actually paying the tax. So perhaps rebates on heat pumps and electric vehicles. Financial support of EV charging infrastructure. Support of solar and wind installations.

The person who doesn’t want to pay more for gasoline will get his carbon tax money back through the rebate on the EV he buys. The homeowner who doesn’t like the additional cost for natural gas will get his tax money back via an incentive to install a heat pump. Simple stuff.

The plan fails absolutely if the tax money goes to carbon sink projects that are of dubious benefit… and provide financial gain to the very few.

What is crystal clear, however, is that virtually none of us will make much of an effort to change our ways without a tax. That’s reality. It won’t be painless and there’s very little we can do about that. However, the concept of short term pain for long term gain is entirely relevant here.


About Mel Rothenburger (5782 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on FEATURED COMMENT – Carbon tax is short-term pain for long-term gain, but it should have one purpose only

  1. I have no disagreement with your ‘basic’ premise Brock, however the Carbon TAX has always impacted those who live outside the metro Vancouver / Fraser Valley far harder. With their milder climate, and vastly better transit systems, those in that region pay less.

    It’s not that we wouldn’t wish to have more energy efficiency, but it costs a fortune, as I found out when I replaced my furnace and hot water tank a year and a half ago — the rebates I received were far less than the extra cost I paid to have the highest efficiency.

    I have also looked in to having solar energy for my home — the panels would take me far more years than I’ll ever be in my home to ever pay off though.

    Help us to be more energy efficient, with revenues from the carbon tax, and hell yah I’ll be supportive — BUT right now it’s only improving the bottom line (financially) for the BC Liberal government.

  2. What’s also crystal clear, at least to my “eyes”, nothing will radically change and the situation will not drastically improve unless a mayor political and economical effort (a paradigm shift) occurs on a gran scale. Anything else are palliative efforts.

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