Today, Im going to play Devils Advocate.
Im going to propose what I think an honest system of pricing carbon dioxide emissions would look like.
This means it wont look anything like what Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, NDP Leader Jack Layton or the Blocs Gilles Duceppe have proposed in this election.
My carbon tax wouldnt exempt anyone. It would be a sales tax added to the cost of virtually all goods and services, similar to the Harmonized Sales Tax, with one condition.
Every penny raised, every year, would be returned to Canadians through income tax cuts, or cash rebates to low-income earners who pay little or no income tax.
If Goldstein's proposal is intended to deal with CO2 emissions, it is stupefyingly dumb because it would just mean imposing a tax on all forms of consumption - regardless of CO2 content. We have that now through the GST or TFSA/RRSP.
So in effect, Goldstein is just urging the government to rescind Harper's GST cut. Anyway...
Nevertheless, Goldstein raises a good question: what would a carbon tax look like?
Well, we have one now. All gasoline sold in Canada has a 10 cent per litre federal excise tax. Burning a litre of gasoline puts about 2.4 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere. Burning 400 litres of gasoline would put about one metric tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere, and you'd also be paying about $40 in the federal excise tax. In Europe now, the current price of one unit of CO2 emission (equal to one metric tonne) is about 20 euros or about $30 Cdn.
So in effect, we have now in Canada a carbon tax at least on gasoline. I would suggest that the federal government change the name of the "federal excise tax" to the "federal carbon tax".
What I find interesting is that jet fuel (kerosene) sold for international travel is generally not taxed at all. It seems to me that if international organizations were serious about reducing CO2 emissions, they would start with taxing jet fuel.
Edited by August1991, 25 April 2011 - 08:06 PM.