B.C. Carbon Tax – don’t like to pay – get a bike.

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As predicted there are a number of groups and businesses whinging about the carbon tax announced today by our Provincial Government. It starts July 1st this year and will tax all fossil fuels at a rate that increases each year. As an example gasoline will be taxed at $.0241 per litre in year one  up to $.0724 per litre by 2012. Other fuels such as coal, diesel, heating oil, natural gas and propane will also be taxed based upon their CO2 output.

The tax will be revenue neutral in that the total proceeds from the tax (estimated at $1.849 billion over the first three years) will be returned to individuals and businesses in the form of lower income taxes and for the low income, a small carbon tax credit.

A quick look at the figures for the return of the tax to individuals and businesses looks to be reasonably fair – I am sure that there will be a lot of quibbling over it.

A carbon tax is the only practical method to encourage people to reduce energy use and reduce Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG). Setting goals for (GHG) reduction will not work on a voluntary basis. There is no doubt in my mind that the “carrot and stick” approach is necessary.

A revenue neutral carbon tax is both a carrot and a stick. Most of us will see a reduction in income tax and you can spend it as you see fit. You can continue wasting energy or you can reduce energy use and use the extra money for other things.

I find it difficult to believe that most people cannot reduce their use of energy (and production of GHG’s) by 10% or more very easily. Considering that the tax will end up being well under a 10% increase, you can actually save money.

Here are a few ideas (transportation only):

– carpool once or twice per week.

– plan car trips to reduce use of vehicles.

– don’t idle your vehicle. There is no need to do this and it just pisses away valuable resources.

– get rid of the monster truck/suv and get a small car. If you can afford it get a hybrid but even a small inexpensive car will provide very good savings.  Believe it or not, your manhood is not dependent on driving a monster truck.

– use transit a couple of times per week or ride a bike to work or play and use the bus to return home (our buses can take 2 bikes on a front rack and they are seldom full). You can get a Federal tax dividend for transit costs so that helps reduce the price.

Use the $100 “Climate Action Dividend” that will be given to each citizen of B.C. for a down payment on a decent bike.

Although I sometimes fault the provincial liberals for their policies and ideas I must give them an “A” for guts and initiative in putting this tax into place.

John.

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