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The Carbon Dilemma: Putting a Price on Climate-Wasting Carbon

The Carbon Dilemma: Putting a Price on Climate-Wasting Carbon

Electric vehicle rebate among staff proposals to speed up Toronto’s target to become a carbon neutral city

By Kevin Beaumont

July 24th, 2017

“It’s about more, it’s all about more…”

The last time Torontonians will vote on what their city should do about emissions, it will likely be through a carbon tax. A new report from the Pembina Institute argues that a carbon tax could create thousands of new jobs and benefit the economy in a responsible way. The report, titled The Carbon Dilemma: Putting a Price on Climate-Wasting Carbon, suggests that a city-supported investment in the building of renewable energy will be far more valuable and have a far larger impact on reducing carbon emissions than any amount of carbon tax revenue.

As people who work on the front lines of climate change, we have long since come to accept that a carbon tax could have a positive impact on our city. It is clear that the carbon tax was a critical element of the Clean Energy Act, a legislative vehicle created primarily with a focus on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions. Since introducing the carbon tax legislation through the Ontario legislature, many organizations and municipalities across the province have followed suit.

When it comes to cities, the carbon tax legislation is something that we have been talking to our elected officials since before it was created. Since then, we have seen cities across the province adopt policies that make it easier to enact carbon taxes in their own communities. In Toronto, a new report from the City of Toronto shows that the City supports the building of more renewable energy, including more solar and wind power, and is looking at ways to create the conditions to speed up the target to become a carbon neutral city.

So when we were asked by the Toronto Board of Health to explore the impact that a carbon tax could have on Toronto’s target, it was clear that supporting policies that facilitate carbon reduction were a top priority for the City. When we began examining the issue, the Board of Health recognized that the City had already adopted renewable energy projects that had been supported by generous tax credits.

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