British Columbia’s next government can help secure a better future by reforming the carbon tax and investing a portion of the resulting revenue in energy efficiency, innovation, public transit, and other community solutions to climate change.
That is the message that Better Future British Columbia, a coalition of five leading groups—the B.C. Sustainable Energy Association, Clean Energy Canada at Tides Canada, the David Suzuki Foundation, Organizing for Change, and the Pembina Institute—is advancing through the 2013 B.C. provincial election, and into the term of the next government.
“British Columbia has been a climate leader in the past, but other countries are now catching up,” said Merran Smith, director of Clean Energy Canada at Tides Canada. “Through Better Future B.C., we are challenging all parties to put climate solutions back on the front burner by creating a Better Future Fund that would strengthen communities, create jobs, and diversify the economy.”
The province could generate up to $1 billion per year in new revenue by adding slightly more than a penny to the current price of a liter of gasoline, and by closing the loophole that allows many industrial polluters to not fully pay their fair share.
The coalition proposes using a portion of that revenue to create three investment funds: A Home and Business Energy Efficiency Fund ($25 million/year), an Innovation Fund ($50 million/year), and a Better Future Community Fund ($375 million/year) that would fund transit and other local solutions.
“British Columbians are proud of their province’s past leadership on carbon pollution, and would like to see that leadership continue,” said Matt Horne, director of the climate change program with the Pembina Institute. “Strengthening and expanding our carbon tax is the best way we can demonstrate that renewed commitment.”
All three of the proposed investment funds would help fight climate change while creating long-lasting jobs that are less vulnerable to the boom-and-bust cycle of natural-resource economies. Together, the three funds would allocate less than half of the potential new revenue that an expanded and increased carbon tax would generate, leaving money available for other provincial priorities.
“B.C.’s clean energy economy already employs well over 8,000 British Columbians,” said Ian Bruce, manager of science and policy at the David Suzuki Foundation. “B.C.’s next government has an unbeatable opportunity to build on this success and position our province as a leading innovator and developer of solutions to climate change—something we can all be proud of.”
“We can work together to build positive change in the face of the climate challenge,” said Tom Hackney, Policy Analyst for the BC Sustainable Energy Association. “The Better Future Fund points the way forward.”
All five groups in the nonpartisan Better Future B.C. coalition are working to advance solutions that would reduce pollution, strengthen British Columbia’s communities, diversify our economy, and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.