Politics of carbon pricing

Carbon pricing remains an intensely polarizing issue in Canada and other countries around the world. It is opposed by some law makers, businesses and organizations. Kathryn Harrison, Professor of Political Science, UBC attempts to dissect the politics of carbon pricing by comparing  the BC's carbon tax with the federal Liberal leader, Stéphane Dion’s Green Shift proposal in 2008 in her article “A tale of two taxes: The fate of environmental tax reform in Canada”.1


She proposes several reasons why the former succeeded, and the latter failed. In British Columbia, the personal leadership of and championing by Premier Gordon Campbell; the groundswell of support by the Voters Taking Action Against Climate Change (VTACC), environmental groups, faith-based organizations, academic community; and, the proposal being made by a ruling Liberal majority  government are suggested to have played a significant role. She also suggests that the strength of political opposition depends on the distribution, transparency and salience of costs, and the distribution and salience of benefits.2


Here is the link to a CBC video clip of Kathryn Harris with Bob Inglis, former US Congressman, and Diana Carney of Canada 2020 discussing the politics of carbon pricing.






1.      Harrison, K. A Tale of Two Taxes: The Fate of Environmental Tax Reform in Canada. Rev. Policy Res. 29, 383–407 (2012).

2.      Harrison, K. The Politics of carbon pricing. (2009). at http://www.ligi.ubc.ca/sites/liu/files/Events/EnvtSS_The_Politics_of_Car...