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Hello BEST members, 

Six years ago, on July 1, 2008, British Columbia (BC) decided to enact what has been called "the most significant carbon tax in the Western Hemisphere by far". Now, the province is a success story and case study for future implementation of carbon taxes. 

Currently the BC government has a tax of $30 Canadian dollars per metric ton of equivalent carbon dioxide emissions  from burning various fossil fuels. This means that the government brings in 25 cents for  every gallon bought in the province. You would expect a carbon tax like this to be under heavy attack from the public, but what you would find might surprise you. Polls have shown that 55 to 65% of the public support the tax. This is because the tax is completely revenue neutral. This means that every dollar collected by the government goes back to the citizens in the form of tax breaks. To date the tax has brought in $5 billion in revenue which has been paid back to the citizens in the form of business tax cuts, personal tax breaks, and low income-tax credits (for those who the carbon tax effects the most). 

Most impressive of all, are the results. The carbon tax has produced a noticeable difference in climate awareness. According to the most recent study, the sales of petroleum products in BC has declined by 15% in just four years. Even more importantly, BC's per capita fuel consumption has been driven down by 17% in that time span. It is also important to note that this has not had a negative effect on the BC economy, which has kept pace with the rest of Canada. 

BC's carbon tax makes a strong case for similar policies to be adopted around the world. With a revenue neutral system that can be supported by the public, climate awareness can increase dramatically. I believe that this change in culture is important for emissions to be reduced and look forward to the implementation of similar policies. 

Chris Henry. "British Columbia Enacted the Most Significant Carbon Tax in the Western Hemisphere . What Happened Next Is It Worked". Mother Jones. March 26th 2014. 
http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/03/british-columbia-carbon-tax-sanity

  
Brett Nelson
Undergraduate Intern 
2014 BioEnergy & Sustainability School

Soil and Water Science Department

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