Canada’s oldest blue-ribbon economic think tank has endorsed a carbon emissions tax—recycled into clean energy research—as “the most bang for the buck,” the Financial Post reports.
In A Blueprint for Going Green: The Best Policy Mix for Promoting Low-Emissions Technology, Syracuse University economist David Popp concludes that an “emissions” tax would be an efficient way to raise the $2 billion the federal government has committed to a Low-Carbon Economy Trust and the $375 million Ontario proposes to spend of clean energy research. Alberta already plans to direct revenue from its carbon tax to emission reduction research.
“With the significant investment we are starting to see from Canadian governments, it is crucial that green tech development be done in an effective and cost-efficient manner in order to minimize waste of public funds,” Popp wrote, according to a Howe Institute news release published on Yahoo.
The American analyst suggested three guidelines for effective policies aimed at meeting Canada’s commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emission by 30% below their 2005 levels by 2030: place a price on carbon to drive demand for low-emission technology; finance early-stage cleantech innovation; and encourage domestic players to look to world markets.
With the national debate over carbon pricing heating up, Popp said that while a fully-harmonized national carbon price or approach won’t be essential to achieving the country’s emission reduction goals, a carbon price that affects the majority of Canadians is.
While opining that carbon pricing is “extremely difficult in practice,” the Post observed that Andrew Leach, a generally pro-market economist at the University of Alberta who has advised the Notley government, has also endorsed the principle of taxing carbon emissions.
Popp’s recommendations echo similar ones made last month in an assessment of Canada’s economy by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).It urged the creation of a carbon tax to fund investments in a more integrated electricity grid, among other things.