Premier Gallant says carbon pricing could mean higher gas tax

Premier Brian Gallant says a higher gas tax could be part of New Brunswick's carbon pricing plan. Canada's premiers and the prime minister agreed this week to work on how to make carbon more expensive, as a way of reducing emissions and fighting climate change.

'We all have to chip in' to meet targets to reduce emissions, says Premier

Raising taxes on what people pay at the gas pump could be part of New Brunswick's plan to reduce emissions. (Elise Amendola/The Associated Press)

Premier Brian Gallant says a higher gas tax could be part of New Brunswick's carbon pricing plan.

Canada's premiers and the prime minister agreed this week to work on how to make carbon more expensive, as a way of reducing emissions and fighting climate change.

Gallant says New Brunswickers are already paying through NB Power's shift to more renewable energy, but existing efforts are not enough.

Premier Brian Gallant, and premiers from across the country, met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss Canada's plan to fight climate change. (CBC)
"When you look at the trend lines, if we're going to hit the targets in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reductions that we've set for ourselves as a country, we have to do more," he said. "And that means that we all have to chip in."

Gallant says there are a number of options to put a price on carbon, and one example would be to raise the tax on what people pay at the gas pump.

The premier has said in the past any carbon tax would be revenue neutral, but he did not repeat that promise Friday.

Green Party leader David Coon, a long-time proponent of carbon pricing, says a model he's looked at would include a 2.3 cent increase per litre on the price of gasoline — but the best model would be a simple one.

"Put the price on the carbon where it comes into our economy," he said. "So that's just at three locations: NB Power's coal-fired power plant, the Irving Oil refinery and the natural gas pipe line coming into the province."

Coon says that money should go into a dedicated fund so it could be recycled to New Brunswick families and businesses.

He suggests it could be used to help people reduce energy costs and carbon footprints by providing incentives to switch to heat pumps, insulate basements, and have businesses get new, high-efficiency equipment.

Coon says tax payers would end up paying up front for carbon use, but then getting that money back through energy saving.

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