B.C. was a leader in Canada when it established a tax on carbon in 2008. Now it's time to innovate again, by retooling our carbon tax into a "Better Future Fund." Here's how:
1. Invest in solutions.
The revenues we generate from the carbon tax must be invested in green solutions — projects that will reduce harmful carbon emissions linked to global warming and make our communities healthier and better places to live. Solutions can be tailored to communities' needs throughout the province, from Terrace to Osoyoos and Comox to Fort Nelson. By directing carbon tax revenues into a "Better Future Fund" and investing wisely in green projects, we can manage today's challenges and plan for tomorrow's needs at the same time.
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Benefits of a Better Future Fund
Our investments should prioritize clean energy and improved transportation systems. More transit options — buses, Skytrains, and light rails — would reduce traffic congestion for commuters. Faster, more frequent service would mean fewer cars on the road. Clean energy investments would help B.C. businesses improve their efficiency and support innovation, giving them a competitive edge. With investments in green solutions, B.C. workers would develop the most advanced skills, securing well-paying jobs in the province's renewable energy and research and knowledge sectors. At home, British Columbians would save on energy bills by making their home-heating and cooling systems more energy-efficient. And more energy-efficiency — in businesses and at home — means reduced emissions and cleaner air to breathe, for everyone.
2. Make it fair.
Right now, not everyone pays their fare share of the B.C. carbon tax. Let's apply the tax more equitably by forcing industrial polluters such as oil and gas companies to pay for emissions that are currently exempt. This would generate $125 million per year, which could be put toward a "Better Future Fund" for investments that would benefit everyone. We need to
ensure that everyone will benefit, and that everyone — from citizens to industry — is part of the solution.
The Better Future Fund can also contribute to a more balanced carbon tax credit system. Low-income families can receive a higher tax credit as additional revenues are collected from carbon polluters.
3. Capture what counts.
Currently, the carbon tax is applied only to the purchase and use of fossil fuels. However, a proportion of total emissions, including "fugitive" and "process" emissions, are not taxed. Fugitive emissions escape from leaks in valves, seals and pipes at industries such as natural gas plants. Process emissions are created by industries such as concrete manufacturers during the production process. Once everyone in B.C. — from households to business and industry — is contributing fairly and taking part in the solution, the carbon tax could be increased incrementally on these harmful fossil fuel emissions. These new revenues would help build the Better Future Fund, supporting green infrastructure that would have dramatic, positive effects on the environment.
What green solutions would make your home or community a better place to live? We want to hear from British Columbians about how we can build a better future. Make your suggestions at betterfuturefund.ca