PhotoIn 2008, the Canadian province of British Columbia enacted a carbon tax. The law requires that all carbon tax revenues be matched, penny for penny, with other tax reductions. To the surprise of many skeptics, it’s been a remarkable success.

Polak: “It was the significant reductions in other taxes, personal income tax, business taxes directly related to that, I think, that allowed people to feel comfortable with the balance between the economy and the environment.”

PhotoThat’s Mary Polak, British Columbia’s Minister of Environment. She says the carbon tax has actually been good for the economy.

Polak: “We have one of the lowest personal income tax rates of any jurisdiction in North America, and we’ve been able to maintain that similarly with our business taxes, so all of those things work in concert. It has been the carbon tax largely that has enabled us to do that.”

It’s been good for the environment too. Carbon emissions are down. And B.C.’s fuel use has dropped 16 percent since the tax was implemented.

Polak: “People see a benefit to themselves personally, economically, by paying a tax that also changes their behavior around the environment.”

Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media.
Photos: British Columbia logo, and Canada map showing the province of British Columbia (source: Wikipedia).

More Resources
The Shocking Truth about B.C.’s carbon tax: It works.
British Columbia’s carbon tax: The evidence mounts.
All You Need to Know About BC’s Carbon Tax Shift in Five Charts: The revolution, six years in.
Myths and Facts About the Carbon Tax.
Carbon Tax Report and Plan, part of BC’s 2014 budget.

A regular contributor to Yale Climate Connections since 2012, David Appell, Ph.D., is a freelance writer living in Salem, Oregon, specializing in the physical sciences, technology, and the environment. His...