Retreat from climate leadership doesn’t help the economy

Ian Bruce, who works for the David Suzuki Foundation, and David Helliwell, CEO of a British Columbia-based energy information software company:

B.C.’s leadership on climate change has made us more economically competitive. As the last global financial crisis wreaked havoc on economies worldwide, at home our carbon tax spurred innovation and clean technology sector growth to more than 200 companies. It saw sales projected for $2.5 billion in 2011 with a 48 per cent growth between 2008 and 2010. According to KPMG, 78 per cent of these sales are exports. These clean-technology innovations throughout the province have diversified our economy while making us a leader in climate change solutions that give us cleaner air, energy-efficient homes and businesses, and healthier communities.

The BC Liberal Party likely believes there are votes to be gained in their cynical and cowardly retreat from climate leadership. But their argument that the carbon tax is hurting BC’s economic competitiveness is just dishonest. A carbon tax may reduce the record profits of the greedy carbon polluters who donate to the party (and then expect to be served by it), but underpricing carbon harms our economy and everyone you know.

According to the anti-business radicals at KPMG, BC’s cleaner technology sector employs more people than forestry, mining and the oil and gas sectors combined. It also contributes more to provincial GDP than any of the traditional resource-based sectors.

Unpriced carbon is a subsidy for unethical businesses that damage and endanger our communities without creating much economic value.