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Green group attacks Premier Clark's vow to freeze carbon tax

Premier Christy Clark's promise to freeze B.C.'s carbon tax will commit the province to "inaction" on climate change, the Pembina Institute argues.

"The carbon tax has contributed to a drop in the fossil fuels burned in B.C., while having negligible impacts on the economy," Matt Horne, the environmental group's climate change program director, said in a release. "This position fails to connect the real threat that climate change poses to our communities and our economy with the need for strong climate policies. Our leaders should promise action -- instead of committing to inaction."

Premier Clark pledged Wednesday that if re-elected in May, she will prevent B.C.'s carbon tax from rising for at least five years. In doing so she attempted to distance herself from the BC NDP, which holds a 20 per cent lead over her ruling Liberals, according to a recent Angus Reid poll.

"They would raise the carbon tax; we will freeze it," Clark reportedly said. "We believe in lower taxes wherever we can make that happen."

The NDP opposed the carbon tax during the previous provincial election in 2009. This time around it's announced that it will keep the tax if elected, but use its proceeds to fund public transit and other green infrastructure that will help shrink the province's carbon footprint.

The provincial Green Party supports an environmental group-led proposal to increase the carbon tax over time to $50 per ton of greenhouse gas emissions, as opposed to its current $30. And the BC Conservatives say they would repeal the tax.

Geoff Dembicki reports for The Tyee.

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