Climate change support a bitter pill if we must pay more for it: Survey

« It’s hurting people’s pockets. Wages stay the same – everything else goes up. »





While many British Columbians support reducing greenhouse gases, the actual cash price of fighting climate change might be a bitter pill for many to swallow.

Finance Minister Carole Taylor has hinted that her Feb. 19 budget will contain a "revenue neutral" tax that will penalize people and businesses for carbon emissions.

The basic idea is to charge more for activities that burn carbon, hopefully spurring people to choose environmentally friendly alternatives.

The extra tariff on gasoline would start at four cents a litre, rising to 24 cents a litre by 2030, according to the Vancouver Sun. The cash would be returned to the economy in the form of tax cuts or investments in green technology.

"It’s not worth it," said Sandy Dosanjh, a concierge at a downtown hotel, when asked about paying more for gasoline.

"Where is the money going? How is it going to help? It’s hurting people’s pockets. Wages stay the same – everything else goes up."

Mario Canseco of Angus Reid Strategies, which surveyed almost 3,700 Canadians on climate change last March, said support for climate change tends to dissipate when cash values are proposed.

"Once you put a price on it, people tend to think twice about it and say, ‘Maybe not.’" Canseco said.

However, many climate change experts maintain that a carbon tax is absolutely necessary to reduce greenhouse gases.

In an interview with Metro in October, climate change expert Marc Jaccard said politicians need to implement regulatory and financial penalties on carbon dioxide emissions.

In a report last week, the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (of which Jaccard is a member) recommended establishing a price for carbon as soon as possible. It proposes a carbon tax, a carbon-trading system, or some combination of both.