Septemeber 2, 2020
(Source: Carbon Pulse)
British Columbia will push back the scheduled increase of its C$40/tonne carbon levy by another six months in order to assist COVID-19 economic recovery efforts, the provincial government announced Wednesday.
BC Premier John Horgan in March postponed the scheduled C$5 increase in the CO2 tax for Apr. 1, 2020 as part of a C$5 billion action plan to help businesses and residents affected by the coronavirus fallout.
The carbon tax rate hike was initially delayed until at least October, but BC’s NDP-Green coalition government said it reviewed the situation and decided to keep the fee stable until rising to C$45 in Apr. 2021. The levy will then continue on to C$50 the following year.
“This change will give businesses and families more time to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, while still meeting the required federal carbon pricing backstop rate of C$50 per tCO2e by 2022,” the government said.
Even with the freeze, the BC carbon tax remains C$10 higher than the backstop CO2 levy rate of C$30 for 2020.
BC’s carbon tax covers roughly 70% of the province’s economy, though GHG output has risen since the levy took effect in 2008. However, this coincides with the previous Liberal government freezing the rate at C$30 for five years until 2018.
Businesses have recently called on the NDP-Green government to incorporate the use of offsets in the province’s climate strategy.
Ottawa also approved BC’s offset programme to supply ‘recognised units’ to large stationary emitters in five provinces and two territories regulated under the federal backstop output-based pricing system (OBPS), but no protocols were listed as part of the announcement.