Conservative leadership candidate Jean Charest has pledged to implement a “low carbon fuel standard” – a policy that would tax the excess carbon emissions from fossil fuels.

In Charest’s environmental plan, Charest opposes the Trudeau government’s consumer carbon tax but pledges to “replace it with an industrial carbon price to slash emissions while giving provinces the flexibility to choose their path to emission reductions.”

Charest says his environmental plan will have “a heavier focus on industrial emissions while using other measures like the Low Carbon Fuel Standard.”

The “low carbon fuel standard,” a policy initially brought in by the BC government over a decade ago, would incentivize producers of fossil fuels to reduce the carbon intensity of their fuels by forcing companies to buy a government credit if the carbon intensity of their fuels is above the government standard. 

The Trudeau government has already passed similar legislation to implement regulations called the “Clean Fuel Regulations,” which many critics have referred to as a “second carbon tax.” The regulations are set to come into effect in December 2023.

The Charest campaign told True North that the leadership candidate “(i)s offering a credible alternative which takes a diversified approach to clean energy technology, such as nuclear, hydrogen, and carbon capture including enhanced oil recovery.”

The campaign distanced themselves from the Trudeau government’s carbon taxes, claiming “Trudeau’s Clean Fuel Regulation has become a slush fund of taxpayer dollars for companies looking to subsidize clean fuel projects. This plus Trudeau’s Consumer Carbon Tax, which punishes hard-working families and farmers and does little to benefit the environment, proves we can’t tax and spend our way to net zero.” 

Critics say that climate schemes to tax corporations for producing carbon will lead to the cost of production being passed down to consumers.

The president of Canadians for Affordable Energy Dan McTeague says BC’s “low carbon fuel standard” acts like another tax and drives up the province’s fuel prices by 16 cents per litre. The Trudeau government’s carbon tax adds an additional 11 cents per litre to Canadian fuel.

Franco Terrazzano of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation says that Conservative leadership candidates must come out against Trudeau’s carbon tax, as well as the government’s second carbon tax. He says Charest is on the wrong side of this issue.

“Charest said he would bring in a ‘low carbon fuel standard’ that is ‘based on British Columbia’s policy.’ Make no mistake about it, that’s Charest supporting a second carbon tax,” wrote Terrazzano in the Toronto Sun. 

Terrazzano points out that during the time the “low carbon fuel standard” has been law, B.C.’s emissions still increased while pointing out that the province is one of the most unaffordable places to live in the country.

“That’s another reason the province is one of the least affordable places on the planet. With sky-high gas prices, does the Conservative Party really want to align itself with the highest gas-tax jurisdiction in Canada?” says Terrazzano.

“Despite having the highest carbon tax in Canada for years and a second carbon tax to boot, emissions in B.C. have continued to increase.”

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