Macfarlane: Should the Canadian government put a price on carbon?

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11 October, 2012
By: Emmett Macfarlane
Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Waterloo

Any attempt to price carbon will mean either a direct tax on Canadians or a system that creates cost increases that are then passed on to consumers. There is a strong consensus among climate scientists and economists that pricing carbon is the most effective way to reduce emissions. The question remains, however, whether doing so is politically palatable. Recent history suggests strong division over the issue – some provinces have successfully implemented regimes but we’ve seen strong resistance to various proposals at the federal level. There are, nonetheless, obvious things political parties can do to be more coherent on the issue of climate change – such as abandoning support for subsidizing home heating costs for everyone, no matter what their incomes.

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