World

Canada Enacts Nationwide Carbon Tax

| by Robert Fowler
Canadian Prime Minister Justin TrudeauCanadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

The Canadian government has implemented a carbon tax to help combat climate change. The country's provinces and territories will have to implement the new plan by 2018.

On Oct. 3, Canada’s Liberal government announced that there would be a national tax on carbon, starting with $7.60 per metric ton in 2016 and gradually increasing to $50-per-ton by 2022, according to The Los Angeles Times.

“There is no hiding from climate change,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated in the House of Commons. “It is real and it is everywhere. We cannot undo the last 10 years of inaction. What we can do is make a real and honest effort… to protect the health of our environment, and with it, the health of all Canadians.”

The tax is designed to make energy resources that contribute carbon emissions, such as burning coal, into bad investments for industries. By making carbon-emitting resources more expensive, the tax would incentivize Canadian businesses to invest more in alternative energies such as wind and solar power, according to CNN.

The Canadian government has pledged to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. Canada’s 10 provinces and three northern territories would have two years to implement the new carbon tax, but the new mandate is already facing opposition.

“A carbon tax is a bad idea and Canadian taxpayers will be the ones picking up the tab. … the government should get out of the way and let the provinces do their job,” said Conservative MP Denis Lebel, according to The Toronto Star.

“Why is [Trudeau] using a sledgehammer to force the provinces and territories to accept a carbon tax grab and what happened to his promised new era of cooperative federalism,” added Conservative MP Ed Fast.

The new carbon tax is even being criticized by climate activists, who believe it is not ambitious enough. Canadian Green Party Leader Elizabeth May pointed out that the government’s 30% reduction of emissions target is based on 2005 levels.

“If we persist with [2005] greenhouse gas targets … we will fail to ensure Canada does its part in holding the global average temperature increase to no more than [2.7 degrees Fahrenheit],” May said, according to The Los Angeles Times. “This is not a theory -- it’s basic math.”

Trudeau has defended his government’s new tax plan, asserting that it is a constructive path forward and long overdue.

“This is the responsibility of all levels of government,” Trudeau said. “This is right for the economy. It is right for environment. It is about time Canada had leadership on this file.”

The U.S. Congress is not currently considering a national carbon tax, although voters in Washington state will have the choice of instituting a statewide carbon tax when they vote in November.

Both Canada and the U.S. signed the Paris Climate Agreement in April. A global agreement for participating countries to dramatically reduce their emissions, the agreement goes into effect on Nov. 4.

“This gives us the best possible shot to save the one planet we’ve got,” said President Barack Obama, according to CBS News.

Sources: CBS NewsCNN, The Los Angeles Times, The Toronto Star, CBC News / Photo credit: Alex Guibord/Flickr

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