Tar Sands Industry Says Prime Minister is "out of step" on Carbon Tax

Tue, 2013-02-05 09:06Kevin Grandia
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Tar Sands Industry Says Prime Minister is "out of step" on Carbon Tax

Bloomberg News is reporting that major industrial players in Canada's tar sands are frustrated with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's continued opposition to a national tax on climate change pollution.

At the heart of the matter is the high level of market uncertainty Harper's resistance brings to investment, especially regarding the increase a carbon tax will bring to the per-barrel cost of developing tar sands oil in the future. As Toronto Fund Manager, John Stepehnson, explains,

“What business hates is a lack of clarity. Even a bad tax would be better than discussions that are endless.”

A carbon tax would also level the playing field for companies proactively looking to reduce carbon emissions from major tar sands operations.

Andre Goffart, president of Total’s Canadian unit, explained to Bloomberg News that a carbon tax,

… is one of the ways to promote better performance of the industry. The principles are probably agreed upon by the players. The question is, where do you put the level to incentivize the industry to go in a more efficient way?”

Most companies see a carbon tax as inevitable as more jurisdictions, mainly the European Union, ratchet up the cost of business for carbon polluters.

But the Harper government continues to adamantly oppose a tax on climate change pollution, going so far as to run a national ad campaign attacking political opponents who support such a tax.

Jim Prentice

When you cover energy and environment issues day in and day out, you’re prone to having some pretty geeky fantasies.

Case in point: over the holidays, my mind wandered to considering what advancements in Canadian energy policy I’d put on my wish list for 2015. I could have rattled off five or 10 things, but one kept rising to the top.

If I could wave my magic wand and make just one thing happen on the energy and environment front, what would it be? I’d like Alberta to start managing its oil wealth more responsibly.

The context: as 2014 draws to a close,...

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