OPINION: Carbon taxes are great in theory. If only they worked – by Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail – April 20, 2019)


Thanks to politicians, carbon taxes are now a moral cause. If you want to save the planet you’ll sign on. Otherwise, catastrophe will ensue, warns our radiant Environment Minister, Catherine McKenna.

Ridiculous, argues Ontario’s portly, populist Premier, Doug Ford. Carbon taxes will create a “carbon tax recession” inflicted on us by our evil central government. Both are blasting their message at the electorate to persuade us that their side is right.

Neither statement is remotely true, of course. At 4.4 cents more per litre of gas, the new federal carbon tax is big enough to notice, but much too small to pry people from their cars. Even so, a lot of people like it. It shows that Canada is serious about climate policy. They figure that even if a carbon tax doesn’t buy us the solution to climate change, it seems like a good first step.

Unfortunately, the evidence is mounting that they don’t work. The idea behind a carbon tax (or carbon price, as it’s more accurately described) is simple. If you raise the price of something, such as fossil fuels, then people will use less of it.

Economists and policy wonks say carbon taxes are the most efficient way to cut greenhouse gas emissions without affecting growth. In Canada, the federal carbon tax is also supposed to be revenue neutral, so that people get their money back through a rebate.

For the rest of this column: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-carbon-taxes-are-great-in-theory-if-only-they-worked/

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