TORONTO (Reuters) - The province of Quebec slapped the country's first carbon tax on energy firms on Monday, as Canadian business leaders urged "environmental taxation" to rein in greenhouse gas emissions.
Indeed, other non-energy companies which use large amounts of carbon products could also take a hit from the tax, warned the president of the cement industry, citing companies such as St. Lawrence Cement and LaFarge.
Cement is "certainly an energy-intensive industry ... but this tax unbalances our competitiveness across Canada, with the United States, and with the global cement industry," Pierre Boucher, president and chief executive of the Cement Association of Canada, told Reuters in an interview.
The carbon tax, proposed more than a year ago, is expected to raise C$200 million ($202 million) a year to fund the province's plans to reduce emissions.
It includes a per-liter levy of 0.8 Canadian cent for gasoline, 0.9 Canadian cent for diesel fuel, 0.96 Canadian cent for light heating oil, and C$8 a tonne for coal.
It wasn't immediately known whether the oil companies, including Petro-Canada and Imperial Oil, would pass along the cost to consumers.
Separately, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives said on Monday Canada should become "an energy and environmental superpower," and suggested higher energy prices to help cut emissions.
"The price signal is an important means to ensure that energy use reflects its environmental costs, and these signals can be strengthened through market-based mechanisms such as emissions trading and environmental taxation," the council said in a statement
Since 1990, greenhouse-gas emissions in Canada, a net exporter of energy, have risen more than in any other leading industrialized country, data submitted by the Group of Eight rich nations to the U.N.'s Climate Change Secretariat shows.
Quebec has pledged to meet its targets under the Kyoto Protocol on climate change.
Canada has signed on to the agreement, which calls for a 6-percent cut in emissions from 1990 levels by 2012, but Prime Minister Stephen Harper has said that target is impossible to achieve.
Instead, the minority Conservative government aims to cut emissions from greenhouse gases -- the key contributor to climate change -- by 20 percent from current levels by 2020.
Quebec Now Has Carbon Tax. Ontario Does Nothing.
There is no reason the federal government didn't do this, but you have to question why so many other provinces haven't done this in response to the federal government's inaction.
As Ontario is in an election, it would be nice to hear about an Ontario carbon tax eh!
Being out of the loop in New Brunswick, I'm not sure how the Quebec government plans on spending the $200 million yearly windfall. (C$ =0.99US$).
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