British Columbia leads the Way

While preparing a presentation this morning for a panel discussion in Montreal this coming Saturday on planetary resilience, I strated thinking about how the world is shifting in fundamental ways that are impossible to determine, thus making the aiblity to anticipate trends and patterns even more important for educators, business leaders and goverment decision-makers. There will also be major policy shifts and as I was writing this, the Canadian Press just reported that two American states--Washington and Orgeon are planning to adopt BC's carbon tax. California governor Jerry Brown stated, "Today, California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia are all joinging together to reduce greenhouse gases"?

Besides being a climate leader, British Columbia is exemplifying policy innovation in two critical ways. It's carbon tax is is revenue neutral, which means the money generated by the tax funds personal and business tax cuts. Since 2008, the carbon tax has raised a total of $3.7 billion. Thus, it has the capacity to transcend electoral shifts, as it is almost impossible to remove, given its direct and immediate benefits to individual Canadians and businesses, leading to an embedded culture of climate change innovation and ideally, changing development paths.

In addition, our climate change research has proven that the province's legislative and policy framework has been the major impetus for climate innovation and action locally in the province. Our recently published Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation: Action Agenda for BC Decision-Makers contains 12 policy recommendations to accelerate the adoption of BC's climate innovations throughout the province and the rest of Canada.

Despite extensive debate that putting a price on carbon would cause economic difficulties, five years later, evidence shows that fuel consumption declined by 17.4 percent since 2008, while the rest of Canada’s increased 1.5 percent. BC’s economic growth per capita is consistent with Canada’s average. In this way, reducing source emissions has increased environmental benefit without harming the economy (Sustainable Prosperity, 2013; Government of BC, 2012).



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