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Open letter to Premier Christy Clark: B.C. businesses support a stronger carbon tax

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More than 130 B.C. businesses have signed the following open letter calling on the B.C. government to commit to strengthening the province's carbon tax as part of the Climate Leadership Plan, due out this spring.

The Board of Change, Clean Energy B.C., Climate Smart Businesses Inc., Pembina Institute and Clean Energy Canada initiated the letter, which was released yesterday (March 30).

March 29, 2016

The Honourable Christy Clark, MLA
Premier of the Province of British Columbia
Box 9041
Station PROV GOVT
Victoria, B.C. V8W 9E1

Dear Premier,

As businesses representing the diversity of B.C.'s economy, we write to you in support of the Climate Leadership Team's recommendation to begin increasing the carbon tax by $10 per tonne per year in July 2018. The province's carbon tax has been widely praised as an effective climate policy because of its ability to reduce carbon pollution, increase innovation, and support economic growth.

We also support the Team's recommendations to use incremental carbon tax revenue to reduce other taxes; support vulnerable British Columbians; maintain the competitiveness of our emission-intensive, trade-exposed sectors; and invest in innovation and climate solutions. The combined fiscal package finds a good balance between economic, environmental, and social objectives.

These decisions should be finalized this spring as part of the Climate Leadership Plan. 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.

 

 

Here are three key reasons we support next steps on the carbon tax:

1. B.C.'s economy will benefit. During the first phase of B.C.'s carbon tax, the province's economic growth outperformed the rest of the country, and studies that examined B.C.'s carbon tax in detail found no impact on economic growth. According to the Climate Leadership Team's report, B.C.'s GDP will grow by an average of 2.1 per cent per year under the Team's recommendations, with growth distributed across the economy. There are also less quantifiable benefits. Having B.C. recognized as part of the solution to climate change helps attract good people and companies to the province  --  we can't afford to lose that advantage.

2. B.C.'s clean energy and clean tech businesses will thrive. As of 2014, over 68,000 British Columbians were working in clean economy jobs  --  up 12.5 per cent from 2010. Those people work in businesses that supply renewable energy, help improve energy efficiency, and develop a host of other clean energy and climate change solutions. These businesses serve domestic and international markets, and they work in partnership with universities, local governments, and First Nations around the province. They are well positioned to help B.C. continue its transition to a clean energy economy, and help meet a rapidly growing global demand for those solutions.

3. B.C.'s businesses will be better partners in reducing carbon pollution.Close to one-third of B.C.'s carbon pollution is under the direct control of the province's 170,000 small and medium-sized businesses, which employ more than one million people. We are part of the solution when we work in energy efficient buildings, drive cleaner vehicles and reduce waste. Strengthening the carbon tax in conjunction with incentives like a tax credit will encourage businesses to accelerate investment in solutions like training, technology, retrofitting and improved processes.

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. 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.

Sincerely,

Pembina Institute

[For full list of signatories, click here.] 

 

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Image: Flickr/bcgovphotos

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