FUREY: Canada's carbon tax could go much higher after 2022 review

posted on the Canada Gazette – the government’s official newspaper – and the document describes how the already controversial $50 per tonne price that comes into full effect in 2022 may be just the beginning following a five-year review that could very well call for steep increases. “The overall approach will be reviewed by early 2022 to confirm the path forward, including continued increases in stringency. The review will account for progress and for the actions of other countries in response to carbon pricing, as well as recognition of permits or credits imported from out countries,” reads the text. This text does not make its way into the actual legislation but is rather part of the “regulatory impact analysis statement” that explains the amended legislation. This actually isn’t the first time versions of this text have cropped up in government documents though. Earlier this year, when journalists and the public were only just starting to really pay attention to the issue, the government released a technical briefing paper on the carbon tax that explained that “the Pan-Canadian Framework includes a commitment for a review of the overall approach to pricing carbon by early 2022 to confirm the path forward.” This is pretty common stuff though, periodic reviews of legislation, so it perhaps wasn’t flagged as noteworthy to anyone. And the sentence ends at “path forward”, without specific references to increases. But the full sentence first cropped up at least two years ago, before the issue was under its current degree of scrutiny. An October 2016 backgrounder from Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna’s office uses that very sentence: “The overall approach will be reviewed by early 2022 to confirm the path forward, including continued increases in stringency.” Now all of this makes total sense when you consider it from the Liberal perspective. As a number of astute observers, including my colleague Lorrie Goldstein, have pointed out multiple times, the current carbon tax levels are enough to be a pest on taxpayers but not enough to seriously put a dent on our current emissions levels or get us to our current targets. Hence, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and McKenna have been criticized by environmentalists for basically just adopting the same targets as former PM Stephen Harper. But surely the Liberals, with all of their passion for the issue, have known this all along. And they’ve left us a trail of breadcrumbs in their various backgrounder documents to tell us just that. Besides, Postmedia revealed last year that other government docs show the Liberals were told by bureaucrats they’d need to ramp up the tax to $300 per tonne if they want it to be effective. Here’s the question we should all now be asking then: just how high will this tax go? As The New York Times recently reported, “the United Nations report estimated that governments would need to impose effective carbon prices of $135 to $5,500 per ton of carbon dioxide pollution by 2030 to keep overall global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit.” That would be the same fear-mongering UN report that tells us if we don’t act within the next 12 years there will be irreversible catastrophe. If the Liberals are re-elected, what will their 2022 report recommend? If that UN report, the new holy book for climate zealots, says we’ve got to at a minimum almost triple it to $135, surely they’ll at least recommend that figure, if not $300 or more. We can’t say we weren’t warned. Expect it to go up in the years ahead. Way up.   This article appeared on the Toronto Sun website at https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/furey-canadas-carbon-tax-could-go-much-higher-after-2022-review]]>

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