Andrew Coyne: Revenue-neutral carbon tax is not a fairy tale

By Andrew Coyne, Ottawa Citizen, March 15, 2017

There is a conservative position on climate change whose chief opponents are other conservatives. It is to tax carbon, not on top of existing programs for reducing emissions, as those on the left would do, but as a replacement for them — and not on top of existing taxes but as a replacement for them. This is the proposal Michael Chong has put before the Conservative party, but the same approach has been suggested by a number of other prominent conservatives.

Nevertheless the idea has been heavily criticized by Chong’s rivals in the Conservative leadership race. Their objections range from the scientifically dubious (climate change isn’t human-caused) to the economically illiterate (prices don’t affect behaviour). But the crowd-pleaser is simply to dismiss the whole premise of the exercise: that any revenues raised would be given back in tax cuts, or in other words that it would be “revenue neutral.”

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