The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Opinion

Why BC's Carbon Tax Must Rise

Thinking about the climate when we debate climate policy.

By Matt Horne 25 Jul 2011 | TheTyee.ca

Matt Horne is director of the B.C. Energy Solutions program at Pembina Institute.

image atom
Melting future: BC's beauty is shaped by climate, and time is running out.

If you're like me, debates about carbon taxes, cap-and-trade systems, carbon neutral requirements and other climate policies excite you. If you're like most people, you're probably more interested in the bigger picture -- the one that often gets lost in the policy details.

When it comes to climate policy, the bigger picture is whether or not we can avert a global warming crisis. For Canada and other developed countries, this means overhauling the way we produce and use energy as well as helping developing countries carve a clean path forward. Globally, we have a responsibility to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and we don't have much time to do it.

Considering the urgency of this bigger climate backdrop, its disconnect from most climate policy debates is alarming. There are few examples, if any, where we are effectively grappling with the scale of the challenge that we're facing.

B.C.'s carbon tax provides an interesting example. Without question, implementing the tax was a hugely positive step for the province, one that has had international significance, given how challenging it's proven to be to put a price on carbon pollution.

The problem is, most debates about the future of B.C.'s carbon tax have tended to dodge the most important question: should the price continue to increase?

Raise the tax, spend it wisely

At $25 per tonne, the carbon tax currently generates about $1 billion in government revenue. By July 1, 2012, the tax is set to increase one more time to $30 per tonne, but the province doesn't have a plan after 2012. If the carbon tax is going to be a key part of B.C.'s energy revolution, then it needs to continue increasing -- fossil fuels are too cheap and plentiful to hope that change will just happen without an increase.

There are plenty of reasons why this post-2012 debate has been avoided; most notably because people are concerned about the impact of higher energy prices, and industry worries about how it will compete with jurisdictions that don't charge a carbon tax. These are important concerns; however, we're not going to resolve them by avoiding the discussion.

The revenue raised from the carbon tax could be an important piece of the puzzle as we look for that resolution. It could go towards public transit and other low-carbon transportation infrastructure so people and businesses have more options. We could use it to modernize industrial facilities in the province to make them more efficient and therefore more competitive than they are today. We could even upgrade affordable housing, so low-income households aren't trapped by higher energy prices.

Some of the smaller changes in the carbon tax that are being debated in B.C. may be helpful in building support for the harder, but necessary, conversations about continued increases. These include putting some revenue toward clean energy solutions instead of further tax cuts, increasing protection for low-income households so they aren't adversely impacted by the carbon tax, and closing loopholes so that the tax applies to all feasible sources of carbon pollution.

Time is running out

While what happens in the province is not going to define global success against climate change, its actions can be an important contributor to broader momentum. And as a recent poll commissioned by the Pembina Institute suggests, a strong majority (70 per cent) of British Columbians want the province to maintain leadership on climate policy. Finding ways to take next steps on the carbon tax would be one of the best ways of demonstrating that leadership.

In the next decade or two, we'll know if we've done enough to minimize the damage we're inflicting on the climate. Frankly, from the debates we're seeing across Canada, there's a long way to go get on that track. Failing to get on that track is going to leave a global mess for our children. That's not something I want my daughter to have to deal with.

If we get it right, we'll still be able to watch salmon in the Fraser River and look at the glaciers above Joffre Lake. If we don't, well, I'd rather not think about that scenario.  [Tyee]

Read more: Energy, Politics, Environment

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

What Issue Is Most Important to You This Election?

Take this week's poll