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While feds attack carbon taxes, BC shows policy works: report

Carbon taxes may get pilloried by Canada’s federal government, but in B.C. such a policy has reduced fuel consumption and greenhouse gases without hurting the provincial economy, a new report suggests.

"B.C.'s experience shows that it is possible to have both a healthier environment and a strong economy," said lead author Stewart Elgie, a professor of law and economics at University of Ottawa, in a release.

Sustainable Prosperity, an Ottawa-based think tank that has long advocated for a national price on Canada’s carbon emissions, released the report Wednesday morning.

From 2008 to 2012, Elgie calculated, British Columbians consumed almost 19 per cent less petroleum fuel per person than the Canadian average -- "a remarkably large difference," he wrote.

The tax has also helped reduce B.C.'s carbon footprint, he found. Per capita emissions in the province were nearly nine per cent lower than in the rest of Canada from 2008 to 2011.

At the same time, Elgie concluded, "the data show that B.C.'s economy has slightly outperformed the rest of the country over the period that the carbon tax has been in place."

Canada's Conservative government has claimed that a carbon tax would, "kill and hurt Canadian families."

"The actual experience with carbon taxation in B.C.," the Sustainable Prosperity report read, "appears to be directly opposite to the perceived reality in the federal political debate on this issue."

Geoff Dembicki reports on energy and climate change for The Tyee.

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