Faculty Author Type

Current Faculty [David Duff]

Published In

Vermont Journal of International Law

Document Type


Publication Date



Canada, British Columbia, Carbon Tax, Climate Change Legislation


Among alternative public policies to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases (GHGs), environmental taxation represents a promising but often under-utilized approach-particularly in North America where the introduction of any new tax involves enormous political challenges. In Canada, however, British Columbia became the first North American jurisdiction to implement a consumption-based environmental tax specifically designed to reduce GHG emissions when BC's provincial government enacted a carbon tax effective July 1, 2008.

This paper provides a general overview and initial evaluation of British Columbia's carbon tax, explaining the background to the announcement of the tax in the Provincial Government's 2008 Budget, the structure of the legislation and its relation to other provincial initiatives to address climate change, and the possible implications of the tax for climate change policy in Canada. Part I provides a short background to the tax, summarizing the evolution of Canadian climate change policies up to the announcement of the tax in February 2008. Part II explains the structure of the carbon tax and its relation to other provincial climate change policies, reviewing the Provincial Budget and the specific tax implementing legislation. Part III discusses the implications of the tax for climate change policy in Canada, considering public reaction to the tax in British Columbia and subsequent developments at the federal level.



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