If Canada intends to meet its Kyoto commitment a hefty carbon tax is inevitable

May 20, 1999 02:00 AM

A hefty tax on gasoline is "inevitable" if Canada intends to meet its Kyoto commitment to reduce greenhouse gases, said Maurice Strong, the United Nations' special adviser on the environment and former chairman of Petro-Canada.
"It is inevitable that we move to a carbon tax of some kind," he told an energy-efficiency conference in Ottawa. "What today may seem totally unrealistic will become inevitable tomorrow."
Strong said Canada's "somewhat tepid" measures so far mean the country will face a 25 % rather than a previously projected 6 % cut in gas emissions to achieve its Kyoto target by 2010.
"If we don't accelerate the measures we have taken ... we won't make it. That will be a serious embarrassment for Canada."
Although the federal government has pledged not to impose a carbon tax, Strong said there is no better way to discourage consumption of fossil fuels.
Otherwise, he said, oil prices would have to rise above $ 30 a barrel to force consumers to voluntarily lower gasoline consumption.
Canada has signed, but not yet ratified the Kyoto treaty.

In response to Strong, Natural Resources Minister Ralph Goodale reassured oil and gas industry leaders that a carbon tax is not part of the federal government's "planning or thinking."

Source: IINX via Iinoil
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