Will Canadians Accept A Carbon Tax?
A recent report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sounded an urgent warning about the profound – and not very distant – consequences of a warming globe. In response, many citizens, leaders and experts have called for action, often in the form of a price on carbon. Some are even arguing that the combination of a carbon tax and rebates to individuals might mean that many Canadians come out ahead on two counts: More money in their pockets, and less greenhouse gas (GHG) in their atmosphere.
Proponents consider a tax the most effective way to bring about an urgently needed change. Opponents have various responses: Some don’t believe there’s a problem to be solved, some call a carbon tax a cash grab, and others argue that Canada only accounts for a small proportion of GHG emissions globally, and so shouldn’t punish itself. As with most issues, the share of the public that’s passionate and engaged on either side of the issue is relatively small. But what about the rest? Where do Canadians stand on climate change and carbon pricing?
Generally speaking, it’s fair to say almost nobody wants to pay new taxes. (That said, many are open to new taxes that someone else pays – for instance, the rich, corporations, heavy emitters or others.) But while Canadians aren’t likely to march in the streets asking to be taxed, in some cases they will nevertheless accept a new tax. Our data suggest that most Canadians would probably accept a price on carbon, primarily because they’re concerned about the likely consequences of climate change.
In recent surveys, almost nine in ten Canadians express some level of concern about climate change
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