Manitoba’s climbing gasoline costs and the federal carbon tax defined – Winnipeg


Already high gas prices in Manitoba rose about two cents a liter on Friday.

The reason for the increase in pump prices is the 25 percent increase in the state carbon tax as the calendar rolled over to April.

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Global News spoke to Atif Kubursi, Emeritus Professor of Economics at McMaster University, to break down how the carbon tax works and what impact it could have.

Kubursi, who is also president of Econometric Research Limited and a former undersecretary of the United Nations, says the tax is related to the price of carbon, which is rising every year – combined with the amount of damage the emissions are likely to cause.

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“The price of carbon has gone up by $10 almost every year, and next year it’s going to be $50 a year,” he says.

The carbon tax is one of two pillars that lead to higher gas prices, the other is the carbon budget.

Kubursi explains the carbon budget as a model that calculates the amount of available carbon emissions the world can afford before experiencing a temperature rise two degrees above pre-industrial-era temperature levels.

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“If it really goes beyond two, it’s pretty much irreversible,” he says. “It would trigger extreme events; Extreme weather events from tornadoes to hurricanes to droughts.”

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The biggest culprit for carbon emissions is fossil fuels, which are believed to be directly related to climate change and trigger environmental disasters, says Kubursi.

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“We are already experiencing climate change.”

“For the past decade, we’ve been getting higher temperature levels year after year and that trend is likely to continue and if it continues, cause a lot of damage.”

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So the goal is to stick to the carbon budget and keep emissions under control, but instead of phasing out fossil fuels entirely, policymakers invoke the carbon tax.

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The taxes are collected by the federal government at the gas station, which are then redistributed back to households in quarterly payments.

“What’s going to happen with that is people don’t lose income, but they face a situation where the cost of carbon – the cost of fuel – is high, so you don’t lose income, but you face a situation where you have You have the incentive to save to save on how much you have to spend on fuel.”

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Carbon pricing is designed to discourage the public from over-fuelling at the gas station with fossil fuels.

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“I mean, the story here is to use economics in a way that penalizes those who waste energy, particularly fossil fuels, and they’ve been given an incentive not to do so.”

Kubursi believes that politics should take a different path.

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“If we’re going to save this planet, if we’re going to… prevent climate change, maybe we should keep 50 percent of our oil and maybe 80 percent of our coal in the ground,” he says. “We need to change the way we consume and produce.”

“It is no longer an economic problem. It is an existential problem.”

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Canada’s climate plan envisages reducing emissions to a maximum of 60 percent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels.

According to data, 26 percent of Canada’s total emissions come from the oil and gas sector.

A federal government plan to meet the emissions target calls for automakers to produce more electric vehicles. Half of all new vehicles sold should be electric by 2030, and 100 percent by 2035.

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The university professor and climate researcher Dr. Durdana Islam is the proud owner of an electric car, but believes that along with changing Winnipeg’s infrastructure, policymakers need to provide more incentives for other Manitobans to make the switch.

“I’m doing my part, but why would you do your part when there’s no infrastructure? They may not be as motivated as I am,” she says.

“I would definitely encourage people to switch because if we had more electric vehicles on the road (the) government would see the demand for them. It’s like chicken and egg. Do we need more EVs to have more charging stations, or do we need more charging stations to have more EVs on the road?”

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dr Islam says that when it comes to climate change, the lives of future generations are at stake.

“Climate change is here,” she says. “Do we really want to leave the world to our children and grandchildren like this?”

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– with files from Will Reimer of Global News and The Canadian Press

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.