Increasing carbon tax a ‘must’ to fight climate change: Canada's Ecofiscal Commission
MONTREAL -- Canada's Ecofiscal Commission is demanding that drastic measures be taken to fight the climate crisis, including increasing the carbon tax.
The commission states that per capita, Canada remains one of the worst polluters in the world.
“Canada's climate policy is currently not on track to make the 2030 goal that Canada has promised to achieve with the Paris Agreement,” said Justin Leroux, a commissioner with Canada's Ecofiscal Commission.
The group of economists argues a much tougher approach is needed and is now calling for a massive, nationwide overhaul of carbon taxes.
They want the price of carbon in Canada to quadruple in the next five years, to $210 per metric tonne of CO2.
Under the Paris Agreement, Canadian emissions need to drop to 500 million metric tonnes by 2030 – about the same amount of pollution created by 40 million cars in one year.
However, the Quebec Trucking Association (ACQ) says increasing taxes will hit everyday people hard.
“If you increase the cost of fuel to carriers, you'll increase the costs to consumers,” points out Marc Cadieux, the association’s president.
“For the consumer, it is unlivable to think we would increase our taxes by four times.”
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business says it is also worried about the potential impacts of increasing the carbon tax.
“The way that the federal government has administered this carbon tax is deeply unfair, given that the burden is falling squarely on independent business,” said President Dan Kelly.
Nevertheless, the commission argues increasing taxes is the easiest and most cost-effective way for the country to meet its target.
“Other policies, which are less visible, like regulations on industries [or] subsidies, are politically more palatable, but they end up being much more costly than a price on carbon,” said Leroux.
“The fact is we have to do something pretty soon and we have to do something that is bold. In the end, the economic growth of Canada is going to be higher.”
Leroux explains increasing the tax on carbon price will, in the long run, encourage individuals and industries to adopt better, more sustainable behaviour.
“It’s a simple thing to put in place…It encourages innovation for firms and it also generates revenue that can then be recycled to the economy and to households,” he said.
What was Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions promise?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has committed Canada to a target of zero emissions by 2050, with the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below levels recorded in 2005 by 2030.
However, according to data released Monday by the World Meteorological Organization, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a record high in 2018 in Canada.
It’s a revelation that casts a dim light on the country's current methods in battling the climate crisis.
The United Nations-affiliated organization finds there is no proof greenhouse gases concentrations in the atmosphere are decreasing – in fact, some are rising faster than ever.
In addition, Environment and Climate Change Canada has found the country is only on track to reduce its emissions by 19 per cent.
-- with files from CTV News' Billy Shields.