Uncertainty over carbon tax - Part II

As noted last week there are concerns over the new federal carbon tax within the farm sector.

Grain farmers are already asking the Government to provide additional relief from the Federal carbon pollution backstop given the impact it will have on their ability to compete in markets at home and around the world.

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“The carbon price will add costs to farm inputs and to transporting our grains to market making it more expensive to be a grain farmer in Canada compared to our key competitors around the world,” said Jeff Nielsen, Grain Growers of Canada President in a release. “Providing additional relief will not impact growers’ commitments to reducing GHG emissions. Growers are already doing that, and they will continue to work hard to grow more, with less.”

If fuel prices rise, users will be forking out more cash when they fill their fuel tank whether it is a sales clerk in a department store filling their car, or a farmer buying fuel for their grain truck.

How will the suggested rebates work in covering the full new costs people face? That is certainly an area of uncertainty.

So will the carbon tax ultimately have a positive effect?

The primary purpose of carbon tax is to lower greenhouse-gas emissions, which as they increase it will raise temperatures, affecting things such as the melt rate of the ice caps, and the growing conditions for grains and oilseeds in various areas of the world.

In general terms a carbon tax charges a fee on fossil fuels based on how much carbon they emit when burned. In order to reduce the fees, utilities, business and individuals attempt to use less energy derived from fossil fuels.

It is a worthwhile effort when you consider the potential impact of temperature change, particularly on farming.

However, there is a question whether Canada’s efforts can have any impact when countries such as the United States, especially under an anti-science leader such as Donald Trump have no plans to change things?

The uncertainty of the details regarding the Canadian plan, set against the broader question of its global impact, are enough to make people at best cautious, if not outright fearful.

However, change seems to inevitably be needed to address the impact of emissions on climate, and Canada could be a leader in that process.

There is much speculation that it will increase costs, and that does seem to be a reasonable expectation, at least in terms of upfront costs.

Calvin Daniels is Editor with Yorkton This Week.

© Copyright 2018 Yorkton This Week

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