Carbon Tax Captains
Both money and power are converging around a carbon tax consensus, decimating traditional left-right lines of political demarcation.
This makes for some pretty odd bedfellows, ranging from the two Davids (Suzuki and Frum), to the Goreacle and Oracle. It also includes some of the main brain offsprings at the right-oriented CD Howe Institute (Jack Mintz) and the left-oriented Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Marc Lee). The list of carbon tax captains extends to the former neo-con turned eco-con Premier Campbell of BC to Liberal heavies Dion and Ignatieff, all the way to the Minister of Finance Jim Prentice’s former chief of staff and now CEO of the National Roundtable on Environment and Economy, David Maclaughlin and yes, to the Green Ms May as well. The head economic counselor for the International Monetary Fund and Lester Brown, don of the World Watch Institute, round out the list of odd bedfellow carbon tax captains.
“I was in England a month ago talking to the Conservative Party, which has proposed a series of revenue-neutral ‘green taxes’ that would be offset by reductions in other taxes. I believe that approach merits consideration – and the most promising idea I’ve heard is to use the revenue from pollution pricing to cut the payroll tax. After all: employment is good, pollution is bad. Why shouldn’t we lower the cost of the good and raise the cost of the bad? Studies show that a pollution fee of $15 for every ton of greenhouse gas would allow us to return more than $500 a year to the average taxpayer. It would give all of us an incentive to reduce our energy use – whether that’s buying a more fuel-efficient appliance or making the switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, as we’ve done in New York’s City Hall – and as I’ve done in my own home. And even though energy costs would rise, the savings from tax cuts and energy efficiencies could, over the long run, leave consumers with more money in their pockets. Creating a direct charge for greenhouse gas pollution would also incentivize the kinds of innovation that a cap-and-trade system is designed to encourage – without creating market uncertainty. To do this, a portion of the revenue from the pollution charge would be used to create an innovation fund, which would finance tax credits for companies that reduce their greenhouse gas pollution.”
-Mayor Michael Bloomberg
“And most important of all, we need to put a price on carbon--with a CO2 tax that is then rebated back to the people, progressively, according to the laws of each nation, in ways that shift the burden of taxation from employment to pollution. This is by far the most effective and simplest way to accelerate solutions to this crisis.”
-Al Gore, Nobel Prize Speech
If you listen to McCain or Obama or Clinton on this [carbon pricing], they’re all singing the same tune. Emissions pricing enjoys bipartisan support, which is why I see this happening sooner as opposed to later…. As OECD countries impose large and growing economic costs on their own carbon emitters, their tolerance for those economies who impose no cost on their own emissions will quickly fade.”
-Jeff Rubin, Chief Economist, CIBC
“What if the U.S. decides that they're going to want to take action and that involves restricting imports from Canada because we don't have a comparable policy? The federal government has to be prepared. We weren't prepared for Kyoto.”
-Nancy Olewiler, Simon Fraser University
“The federal government should get started on taxing carbon emissions sooner rather than later, in order to avoid a patchwork of provincial carbon taxes.”
-Jack Mintz, Sustainable Prosperity
“You tax inefficient technology and you tax pollution. The carbon tax would not be a credit exchange [as in a cap-and-trade program], which can be easily manipulated. It would be a straight-out tax on hydrocarbon production at the production source -- where it's far, far removed from consumers and forces better choices of technology from the get-go.”
-Ralph Nader, Grist Magazine