08 March 2007

Take that!

Carbon tax would ease pollution

Bay Street is weighing in on how Canada should protect the environment, and one of its top economists believes a well-designed carbon tax is at the heart of a comprehensive solution. Reducing greenhouse gases will require radical changes in the way the economy works, says Don Drummond, chief economist of Toronto-Dominion Bank, but costs to the economy can be mitigated if governments use market-friendly solutions to control emissions. “Pollution must have a price tag,” says his report released yesterday, as Ottawa wrestles with the best way to approach global warming. “Currently it is too cheap to pollute, and too expensive not to.” He wants to see “a taxman dressed in green” - taxes levied not just on oil companies (in the traditional sense of a carbon tax), but on any firm or consumer that produces pollution. Such a tax system would mean that any industries that emit pollution during production would pay a tax, but so would people who drive cars or use refined oil to heat their homes. Such a tax system would go a long way toward putting a price on pollution, and would force companies and consumers alike to account for environmental degradation every time they make a spending decision, Drummond argues. The revenue gained from such tax measures should then be “shifted” to cutting taxes in other areas, or used as subsidies that help the environment.
(Globe and Mail 070308)

Finally, a good idea! It's been completely unfair that Eastern Canada has been wagging their finger at Alberta over their GHG emissions while they continue to suck the oil into their industries and vehicles as quickly as they can -- like being the producer of the product in demand is any worse than being the ultimate consumer. A tax structure like this will certainly help to get everyone culpable for the problem paying their fair share for what they contribute. I'd like to see them model a tax structure much the same way as Paul Hawken suggested in "The Ecology of Commerce".

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