Associate Professor Werner Antweiler co-authored an op-ed in the Toronto Star on May 27, calling on Canada to adopt a national carbon price.

Antweiler and his co-authors argue that many attempts by provinces to incentivize behaviour changes add clutter to the tax system while being ineffective or even counter-productive. Subsidies and rebates are chief among those. 

For example, the authors take issue with electric vehicle subsidies, pointing to economic research that indicates past hybrid subsidies go disproportionately to the affluent who would have bought hybrids anyway. Instead, they write, focus on the underlying problem: carbon.

"The right solution is both simple and powerful: a nationwide carbon price high enough to meaningfully change the behaviour of Canadians."
- Associate Professor Werner Antweiler and co-authors in the Toronto Star

The federal approach also addresses a main weakness of B.C.'s carbon tax. The tax can provoke evasive behaviour, like motorists buying gasoline in other jurisdictions. Standardizing the carbon price means no inter-provincial shopping.

Werner Antweiler is UBC Sauder's Chair in International Trade Policy as well as Chair of the Strategy and Business Economics Division. He regularly writes on economic issues on his blog. He co-authored this article with fellow UBC Associate Professor of Economics Sumeet Galati as well as Ambarish Chandra, an Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Toronto.

Read the full op-ed here.

Top image source: Xenja Santarelli on Flickr.