BC Leaders Bring Their Insights to Massachusetts
In 2008, British Columbia adopted North America’s first carbon fee and rebate policy on carbon pollution. The fee was imposed on fossil fuel wholesalers, and since it eventually would be passed through the economy, all of the revenue was passed directly to households and businesses.
The goal was not to increase the cost of living or even the cost of energy. The goal was to increase the cost of fossil fuels, and then through the rebates, to help everyone in the province shift toward more reliable and less volatile renewable energy. The tax started small and increased gradually up to a limit, giving people and employers a chance to plan how they could take advantage of the new system. The less fossil fuels they used, the more they would come out ahead.
Now, this system proves to be such a success that British Columbia is hailed around the world as a model of smart climate change policy. Carbon pollution is down, and the province’s economy has out-performed the rest of Canada. The carbon tax now funds more than a billion dollars a year in other tax cuts, resulting in one of Canada’s lowest corporate tax rates and lowest personal income tax rates. The policy has always enjoyed majority support, as high as 64 percent, and the party that enacted the tax – the more conservative of British Columbia’s two major parties – has won re-election. Twice.
Now, British Columbia is inspiring Massachusetts and other U.S. states to join them in showing the world how to address climate change. We were very happy to welcome BC leaders to Boston in April 2015. In a series of meetings and events – with business leaders, legislative leaders at the State House, and at a public event at MIT – they told us exactly how they did it and how it has worked. You can learn more by watching the videos and reading the reports below.