Fighting climate change with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax is like fighting COVID-19 with essential oils. It doesn’t work.
British Columbia has the highest carbon tax in Canada, yet its emissions have increased by seven per cent since it got the tax. Emissions went from 63.4 million tonnes in 2007, the year before the B.C. carbon tax was introduced, up to 67.9 million tonnes of emissions in 2018, the last year of available data. Critics could argue that B.C.’s emissions may have been higher without a carbon tax, but that’s not what the Ontario example shows.
Ontario reduced its emissions by 19 per cent from 2005 to 2018 without a carbon tax, and was already ahead of schedule to reach Trudeau’s emissions reduction target the year he introduced the tax.
Ontario never needed a carbon tax to meet Trudeau’s environmental goals, but he chose to ignore the emissions evidence and impose his tax anyway.
Multiple federal government documents state that his carbon tax won’t work. The Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated that the price of carbon would need to reach $102 per tonne, with a tax of 23 cents per litre of gasoline, to meet the government’s original 2030 target. Internal documents from Environment Canada state the price would need to reach up to $300 per tonne with a tax of 67 cents per litre of gasoline.
The federal carbon tax is currently set at $30 per tonne, and, according to current plans, will stop at $50 per tonne by 2022. No wonder the UN declared Canada’s going to miss its 2030 target.
But the proper conclusion when presented with these facts, is not to raise Canada’s carbon tax for two clear reasons. First, people can’t afford a soaring carbon tax, especially in the midst of an economic crisis. Next, as any politician who is being intellectually honest will admit, climate change is a global issue that Canada’s carbon tax won’t resolve.
Even if Canada were to halt all emissions today, it wouldn’t take long before China’s growing emissions made up the difference. Canada is responsible for 1.5 per cent of global emissions. China accounts for 25.8 per cent of global emissions. Its C02 emissions grew by four per cent in the first half of 2019 alone. And China is still building more coal-fired power plants.
As Trudeau bluntly admitted during an Oct. 20, 2018, interview in Montreal: “Even if Canada stopped everything tomorrow, and the other countries didn’t have any solutions, it wouldn’t make a big difference.”
Canada can play a leading role on the world stage to reduce emissions, but the answer is in smart energy use and trade deals, not big taxes on struggling families.
Replacing the burning of coal and animal waste in highly populated places such as China and India with cleaner natural gas from Canada would do much more to reduce global emissions than an expensive carbon tax in Canada. More than half of the people in India rely on burning wood and animal dung to heat their homes and cook their food. The Indian government wants to more than double its use of natural gas by 2022 to try to meet their emissions reduction goals.
Anyone who cares about the environment should oppose Trudeau’s carbon tax because it does nothing to stop emissions from rising at home and abroad. It’s time we start calling the carbon tax what it truly is: a fake environmental policy.