Evidence suggests carbon tax reduces GHG emissions: UBC prof


As criticism of the carbon tax continues, a University of British Columbia (UBC) professor says there is evidence that it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

Kathryn Harrison, a political science professor at UBC, says since B.C. implemented its carbon tax 10 years before the federal tax was rolled out, researchers were able to look at whether B.C.’s emissions changed following the policy.

“When B.C. adopted its carbon tax it was this brilliant situation for economists because we had one province with a carbon tax and a whole bunch of other provinces with consistent data without a carbon tax,” Harrison said, speaking with Mo Amir on This is VANCOLOUR.

“There have been, by my count, about 15 studies that found that B.C.’s Carbon Tax lowered emissions below what it otherwise would have been, didn’t hurt the economy, was fair, but what we also know is that we can’t get the kind of emissions reductions that we’re committed to at $30 a tonne that’s why we need that steadily increasing price schedule.”

A 2023 article looking at studies on B.C.’s carbon tax say research indicates that the policy has been a success.

“Policy experts generally regard the tax as one of the world’s most successful, and its track record has been described as “encouraging evidence” about the prospects for the introduction of similar taxes elsewhere,” the article by Malcolm Fairbrother and Ekaterina Rhodes published in Frontiers in Climate said.

“Even some scholars who are generally skeptical about carbon pricing acknowledge that BC has been a modest success story.”

However, Harrison does say the carbon tax has had an impact on the prices of some items, which she says is part of what would be expected.

“If the products people are buying were produced using fossil fuels, that will increase the price of those products, as it should,” she said. “It then gives people incentives to purchase products that are less carbon-intensive. But even with the tax and the pass-through from other products, most households nationally are getting more money back in rebates than they are paying.”

The carbon tax increased on April 1, resulting in an increase of criticism of the policy.

Since B.C. implements and oversees its own carbon tax separate from the federal tax some, including Pierre Poilievre the leader of the federal Conservatives, were hoping B.C. would not follow suit and raise its price.

READ PREVIOUS: Rob Shaw: Pierre Poilievre urges David Eby to halt April 1 carbon tax hike

B.C.’s Premier David Eby refused, saying if he did not increase the cost then it would result in lower rebates for people in B.C.

READ PREVIOUS: ‘Baloney factory’: Eby mocks Poilievre’s letter asking B.C. to join carbon tax fight

Watch the full interview with Kathryn Harrison here: 

Watch the full episode here:

Laura Brougham

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