BC businesses join call for a stronger carbon tax

Solar panels in Kamloops, BC. Image: Riverside Energy.

Vancouver — A diverse group of businesses from across British Columbia are urging Premier Christy Clark to commit to unfreezing and strengthening the province’s widely lauded carbon tax.

More than 130 businesses — including MEC, Modo, NEI Investments, False Creek Collision and SFU Community Trust — are together calling on the provincial government to increase the carbon tax by $10 per tonne per year, starting in July 2018. They agree that taking the next steps on the carbon tax will benefit BC’s economy, help clean energy and clean tech businesses thrive, and encourage businesses to be better partners in reducing carbon pollution.

“In 2008, the Climate Action Plan — with the carbon tax as its central pillar — helped move the province’s economy ahead, it helped boost the province’s reputation and it helped the environment,” reads an open letter, released today and signed by the businesses. “Taking the next steps on the carbon tax as part of the Climate Leadership Plan is an opportunity to build on those initial successes, and it is an opportunity we must seize as a province.”

Strengthening the carbon tax is central to the 32 recommendations issued by the province’s Climate Leadership Team, composed of experts from the business, academic, and environmental communities, and representatives from the BC government, First Nations, and local governments. The team also recommended using incremental carbon tax revenue to reduce other taxes; support vulnerable residents; maintain the competiveness of emission-intensive, trade-exposed sectors; and invest in innovation and climate solutions.

“These decisions should be finalized this spring as part of the Climate Leadership Plan,” reads the letter. “Communicating the decisions early will give businesses and British Columbians time to plan and figure out the solutions that make the most sense for them.”

The Board of Change, Clean Energy BC, Climate Smart Businesses Inc., the Pembina Institute and Clean Energy Canada initiated the open letter.

Last week, the government extended the public comment period for the Climate Leadership Plan to April 8.

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