Carbon tax fairness in Canada
1. Polluters should pay. It’s not fair that some individuals and organizations pollute our world more than others. They may intend to change their ways but the government uses a carbon price to discourage procrastination.
2. On the other hand it may not be fair for the government to apply a big carbon price ‘overnight.’ Instead it is phased in gradually over time, allowing big polluters to review options and plan changes.
3. The government returns the money it collects to taxpayers for two reasons.
First, while phasing in cleaner energy systems, companies may have to pass some of the carbon price onto consumers in the form of higher prices. Consumer rebates help soften the blow in the early years. Over time companies adopt cleaner technology and stop paying or passing along carbon prices.
Second, there is no need for the government to keep the funds. The rebates create a fair redistribution, while keeping the economy liquid and robust.
4. The only losers under this system are companies who refuse to stop polluting, or procrastinate. Their costs keep going up, while their inspired, responsive competitors reduce costs by adopting clean energy technology.
This is the free market way to ensure that polluters pay. It provides fair warning, planning time, and choice, discourages procrastination, and creates a very real incentive for change. This model has proven effective in several countries and in the Provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.