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Campbell's carbon tax praised in Copenhagen

Premier Gordon Campbell won recognition in Copenhagen for his government's carbon tax and clean energy mandate.

Campbell accepted his 'Economy Wide Carbon Pricing' award from Tzeporah Berman of PowerUp Canada at a gala last night.

It was presented as part of an awards ceremony, organized by ten of Canada's largest environmental groups, to recognize "acts of climate leadership" by municipal and provincial governments across the country.

The Sierra Club did not participate. George Heyman, executive director of its B.C. chapter, said that while the carbon tax is an important action, the B.C. Liberals have "taken a lot of others that are deeply contradictory."

He pointed out that fuel is exempt from the new HST, but the labour for energy efficient home retrofits is not.

"They're also providing massive subsidies to the oil and gas industry. . . and supporting a massive pipeline to move dirty tar sands oil across B.C.," Heyman said.

Matt Horne of the Pembina Institute said they recognize the "inconsistencies" in B.C.'s climate policies, but the carbon tax is strong enough to stand on its own. When asked whether the carbon tax has demonstrably reduced greenhouse gas emissions in the province, he said "in terms of solid evidence that it's working, I think it's too early to tell."

"Based on all the information we have, those are the types of policies we think we need."

Mayor Gregor Robertson also accepted an award for Vancouver's green initiatives, which include the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets in North America and mandated electric car plug-ins in new developments.

The awards were created for the COP 15 climate change conference. Backing organizations include the David Suzuki Foundation, the Ecology Action Centre, Environmental Defence, Équiterre, ForestEthics, the Green Energy Act Alliance, the Pembina Institute, PowerUp Canada, TckTckTck, and WWF Canada.

Colleen Kimmett reports for The Tyee.

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