Opposition strong to B.C. carbon tax hikes after 2012, poll shows
A slim majority of British Columbians oppose continued increases to the province’s carbon tax on fossil fuels beyond 2012, a new poll says.
But the survey also shows support for expanding the tax to cover more sources of greenhouse-gas emissions.
The Pembina Institute, an environmental think tank with headquarters in Alberta, released the poll today (June 30) on the eve of a scheduled hike to the carbon tax.
The levy increases to $25 per tonne of CO2 equivalent from $20 per tonne on July 1.
It rises again to $30 per tonne in 2012, but the B.C. government has not said what increases, if any, can be expected after that.
According to the poll, 51 percent of British Columbians oppose further hikes to the tax after 2012, while 29 percent are in support, and the rest don’t have an opinion.
The poll also shows 69 percent agree the tax should be expanded to cover all sources of pollution blamed for climate change. However, 10 percent disagree on that point, and 21 percent neither agree nor disagree.
In other results, 74 percent believe the tax has had a positive or neutral impact since it came into effect and 26 percent believe the impact has been negative.
The poll also asked what the priority should be for the use of any new revenue from the carbon tax.
Respondents indicated strong support for investing in pollution-reducing projects like public transit and energy-efficient buildings, funding other government issues like health care and education, and cutting personal income taxes.
Introduced in 2008, the B.C. carbon tax is intended to encourage individuals and businesses to make greener choices by adding an extra cost to the purchase and use of fossil fuels.
At present, the carbon-tax rate on gasoline is 4.5 cents per litre, and on natural gas it is 3.8 cents per cubic metre.
The province describes the tax as revenue-neutral, saying income generated by the tax is directed toward personal and corporate tax cuts, and a low-income tax credit.
The Pembina Institute poll was conducted online between April 14 and 18 by the research group Strategic Communications. It was based on a sample of 830 British Columbians.
The survey has a margin of error of 3.4 percent, 19 times out of 20.