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Pembina calls for fairer carbon tax

The province should strengthen its carbon tax with measures that protect low-income families and target more industrial processes, according to the Pembina Institute.

Today, Pembina released these and other recommendations, which included increasing the carbon tax to above $30 per tonne in two years.

In order to keep a heavier tax fair, said Pembina's director of B.C. energy solutions Matt Horne, it's essential to have programs in place for low-income families.

"The province has currently used a model of providing tax credits for low-income families," Horne said. "That's not the best solution. We want to make sure there are programs targeted at low-income families to reduce their emissions. . . instead of putting [carbon tax] revenue towards tax credits, put it towards the renovation of homes."

Pembina also recommended broadening the carbon tax to include emissions from the industrial sector that aren't currently taxed.

"Right now, basically, all fossil fuel burned in the province. . . is covered by the carbon tax," Horne said. "That is about 73 per cent of all B.C. emissions. An additional 27 per cent comes from non-combustion emissions."

These non-combustion sources include methane leaks from pipelines. Under new legislation, the gas sector is required to report these emissions, and Horne says these should be taxed as well.

The hope is that these recommendations will be considered as the province drafts its 2010 budget -- a budget that will include a record deficit of up to $2.8 billion.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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