I received this email from the David Suzuki Foundation introducing a new concept and calling for input:
“Help the B.C. government invest in a green future
The B.C. government wants your views on the future of the carbon tax and how to make it better. Until August 31st, you can influence the future of this crucial policy.
Since 2008, the carbon tax has been encouraging industries and households that generate carbon emissions to pollute less. And it works; B.C.’s climate policies are driving down emissions while keeping the economy healthy.
B.C. showed great leadership by implementing this solution. Now it’s time to lead again, by improving it with a Better Future Fund.
We want the government to start taxing all industries equally. Currently, no companies get taxed for so-called “fugitive and process emissions.” Taxing the responsible industries would generate another $125 million per year, which could go toward sustainable solutions like transit, renewable energy, and green jobs. By investing wisely in green projects that reduce emissions, we’ll make our communities healthier and better places to live.
Like the sound of that? The Better Future Fund (a partnership between the David Suzuki Foundation and other like-minded organizations) is collecting your thoughts on the carbon tax and how your community could benefit from a “green fund,”and sending them to B.C.’s Finance Minister.
This is the FAQ page regarding the Better Future Fund; I have quoted it here to help clarify what this is all about:
“Questions & Answers
Why does the carbon tax matter?
If we don’t transform the way we produce and use energy, the consequences—for British Columbia’s forests, agriculture, communities, and overall economy—could be devastating. The carbon tax is an important step toward that transformation by making polluting activities gradually more expensive and greener options gradually more affordable. British Columbia’s carbon tax is proving that an economy can price carbon while still growing strong and prosperous. Recent public opinion research suggests a strong majority (70 percent) of British Columbians want their province to continue its leadership on climate change.
How much revenue does the carbon tax generate, where does it come from and where does it go?
This year (2012/13), the carbon tax will generate about $1.2 billion, or roughly three percent of British Columbia’s total revenue. The province collects the funds from almost all of the fossil fuels burned in British Columbia—including coal, gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and propane. All of the revenue is currently used to reduce personal and business income taxes, and to give tax credits to low-income British Columbians.
Is the carbon tax working?
Since 2008, when the province introduced the policy, British Columbia’s fossil fuel consumption has declined faster than other provinces, while the economy has proven one of the strongest in the country. We don’t know how much of those changes can be directly attributed to the carbon tax, but the early evidence suggests that B.C.’s package of climate policies—including the carbon tax—is starting to drive down emissions in a way that keeps the economy healthy.
What carbon pollution is excluded from the carbon tax?
One of the key shortfalls in the carbon tax is that it exempts so-called fugitive and process emissions from industry in the province. This carbon pollution has the same impact on the planet, but because it isn’t currently covered by the carbon tax, there’s no incentive for those industries to clean it up. If we closed this loophole and extended our carbon tax to also cover this pollution, it would generate an extra $125 million or so every year. This is money that is currently “left on the table,” and that we feel could be used to help secure a better future for B.C.
What is the Better Future Fund?
The Better Future Fund is an experiment in citizen engagement. It’s a hypothetical “green fund” that we suggest the provincial government could create to fight climate change by expanding the carbon tax to include fugitive and process emissions. British Columbia could use the additional revenue to create a fund that local governments could potentially access for upgrades and improvements that could in turn boost their citizens’ quality of life. The fund could also help B.C. businesses increase their use of cleaner and more efficient energy so that they’re more competitive in a carbon-constrained world. We call this hypothetical fund the Better Future Fund, and we’re using it to engage British Columbians on the benefits of climate leadership.
What is the carbon tax review?
The Government of British Columbia is inviting citizens to share their thoughts on the carbon tax, and will be accepting public comments on the policy until August 31, 2012. Submissions will be considered as part of the government’s 2013 budget process. Though this is the formal review ends before September, we will be continuing work to build support for a strengthened and expanded carbon tax through the coming year.
Is B.C. out on its own in pricing carbon?
While B.C. has been a leader, we are part of a growing pack. For example, Sweden—a jurisdiction with a similar population and economy—introduced a carbon tax in 1992. That country’s economy has since grown 44 percent, while greenhouse gas emissions have dropped by nearly 10 per cent. Last year, the World Economic Forum ranked Sweden second in the world on economic competitiveness. Further, Norway, Denmark, Australia, Switzerland and others all have a carbon price in place. The European Union has created incentives for companies to reduce their emissions, and Korea, China, California and Quebec will be starting similar emissions cap programs soon.
How can we ensure B.C. remains competitive?
The global clean energy and clean technology market is worth $1 trillion today and is expected to grow to $3 trillion by 2020. British Columbia already boasts a small but vital clean-tech sector that generates $2.5 billion in annual revenue and employs 8,400 people. We believe our province can lessen its dependence on natural resources and capture a larger share of the growing global market for low carbon goods and services. Though the carbon tax does not directly create these jobs, we believe it provides a favorable policy environment to grow the market for clean energy and clean technology in British Columbia by sending investors the signal that climate leadership matters, and that we are open for business in the new global economy.”
This is a copy of the letter provided to be sent from the letter writing page at the Better Future Fund site which I sent to the Honourable Kevin Falcon, Minister of Finance:
“To the Honourable Kevin Falcon, Minister of Finance
Dear Minister Falcon,
I’m proud of the leadership British Columbia has shown on the carbon tax. Studies show the policy is working and helping fight climate change. I want you to strengthen and expand the tax to address all sources of carbon pollution.
If presently-excluded fugitive and process emissions were subject to the tax, B.C. could potentially reap about $125 million a year for public transit, or energy efficiency retrofits for homes, schools, and businesses, or other investments that help fight climate change.
Please consider expanding coverage of the carbon tax and using the additional funds generated to secure a better future for B.C.
I have, over the years, heard a lot of grumbling about the carbon tax which affects the price of gas. The higher price of gas does put a strain on the cost of living in BC, however, it was designed, in part, to do so. It makes people think twice about hopping in the car and creating pollution on needless trips when other means of transportation are available. This is a good thing. I agree with the premise of this Better Future Fund concept; the funds so acquired must of course be used appropriately to further sustainable and renewable energy resources while lowering our carbon footprint. I have added my voice by signing the letter and pressing submit.
Today’s “stone” is Day 229 new BFF(Better Future Fund), I like it, I signed it and shared it
- 4 key reasons why BC’s carbon tax is working (business.financialpost.com)