I like to think of a carbon tax as a sort of “swear jar” for GHG emissions. Instead of dropping a quarter in a jar every time you say, “Sh*t!”, you drop some moolah into an account every time you say, “Sh*t! I’ve emitted another tonne of GHGs!”
To give you some scale, the average Ontarian resident emits about 6.5 tonnes of GHG emissions each year (heating, cooling, transportation, appliances, lighting, etc.). If you’re interested in figuring out your emissions try the carbon footprint calculator at Carbonzero.
The Saanich, BC carbon fund
Saanich, BC created its carbon fund in 2007 as part of its commitment to BC’s Climate Action Charter, a joint initiative of the province and the Union of BC municipalities to reduce GHG emissions through a carbon tax.
Based on Saanich’s annual corporate GHG emissions, which are tracked and regularly updated, a set price per tonne is tossed into a pool of cash that is then used to fund emission reducing projects. The current price per tonne is $30. Saanich’s 2007 corporate GHG emissions were 6,000 tonnes and the price for carbon at the time was $15/tonne, giving them a starting investment of $90,000.
Saanich’s carbon fund has been used to purchase electric vehicles, including an electric Zamboni®, for LED lighting retrofits at recreation centres, a solar thermal project, and for building upgrades and retrofits. Savings are more than $300,000 a year and emissions have been decreased by more than 10,000 tonnes.
Since the carbon tax was introduced, BC met its 2012 emissions target and per capita fossil fuel use has dropped relative to the rest of Canada. Source: Pembina Institute, http://www.pembina.org/blog/albertas-carbon-pricing-not-best-in-canada-example