As Canadas premiers gather in Ottawa for a First Ministers conference to discuss climate plans, one Australian has a message for them: Don’t make our mistake.
Chris Berg, a senior fellow with Melbourne’s Institute of Public Affairs, says Australia experimented with the idea of a carbon tax, and hated it so much they dumped the plan after just two years.
LISTEN: Australia Had A Carbon Tax Program That Lasted All Of 2 Years Before It Was Repealed. Do They Know Something We Don’t?
Berg says Canada shouldn’t repeat what he calls Australia’s mistake for one specific reason: It didn’t work.
That is, while it might have affected consumption after its 2012 launch, it didn’t have the broader ripple effect supporters had hoped.
“We got rid of it in 2014 because it didn’t work. It didn’t work because it didn’t lead the world on climate change. We were told we could convince other countries, other major industrial countries to introduce their own carbon tax,” he says.
But he says none of the other big polluters jumped on board.
Berg says on top of failing to spark a carbon tax revolution, Australia’s policy was just too rich for most Aussies’ blood – costing the economy an estimated $8-billion, and hiking the price of electricity about 25%.
“That’s a big deal. But it’s an even bigger deal if you think about the fact that all of the firms that had now higher electricity prices passed those raised prices on to consumers,” he says.
Berg says that was a big hit to most people’s pocketbooks, and he says that’s why about 60% of the population supported axing it just two years later.
Berg says tackling climate change is a global problem needing global solutions, not piecemeal national programs that could come with a cost.
“I just don’t see how Canada is going to embarrass Donald Trump into introducing a carbon tax,” he says.