How to Adopt a Winning Carbon Price

Clean Energy Canada
http://bit.ly/17TQSEP

[Grist] For seven years, the Canadian province of British Columbia has had a carbon tax. It is, on its own terms, a resounding success — carbon emissions are falling even as the economy continues to grow…

How did B.C. pull off this policy triumph?

Research and advocacy group Clean Energy Canada had a simple but rather brilliant idea: it asked! Last fall, it interviewed 14 key figures, including some of the plan’s political architects (like B.C.’s then-premier and then-finance minister) as well as experts from business and academia who were involved in the process.

CEC has now released a report distilling what it learned from those interviews: “How to Adopt a Winning Carbon Price.” There are 10 key takeaways. I’ll list them all, but I’m only going to dig in on a couple. See the report for more (it’s short and readable):

  1. A carbon tax and a thriving economy can co-exist.
  2. You need strong political leadership to get a carbon tax in place. (Public concern about climate disruption helps, too.)
  3. Keep it simple: Design a policy that’s easy to administer thanks to broad coverage and minimal exemptions.
  4. Commit from day one to a schedule of price increases, and stick with it.
  5. Start with a low price.
  6. Revenue neutrality helps address private-sector concerns and makes the policy more durable.
  7. On the other hand, revenue neutrality doesn’t get you very far with voters.
  8. A carbon tax can’t do everything; it needs to be just one component of a full suite of climate policies.
  9. Prepare for motivated, vocal — and not necessarily fact-based — opposition. You’ll need active, engaged supporters and targeted communications strategies to counter the critics.
  10. Expect a cleaner environment, an enhanced reputation, and a thriving clean technology sector…
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