The GNWT has released it’s proposal for implementing carbon pricing across the territory.
The new federally mandated tax on greenhouse gas emissions comes into effect next year, setting a minimum $10 per tonne of emissions beginning in 2018 and rising $10 each year to reach $50 per tonne in 2022.
While rebates for carbon tax will be earned by residents and industry, neither will not be compensated in full.
“What’s it going to matter, we can’t afford to swallow it,” said Weatherby Trucking owner, Blair Weatherby on July 26. “(Ultimately) the consumer is the one who is going to have to pay,”
Plans for the GNWT to implement carbon pricing will be released on September 1 and Weatherby adds he has no idea what that means for his business, however, the bottom line is prices for all goods and services in the territory will increase.
“Look out your window, everything you see is going to become more expensive,” he said. “It’s not going to be good for any business.”
Six per cent of Weatherby Trucking’s business relies on fuel costs. When carbon pricing is put into place across the territory those fuel costs will increase. Weatherby said he is still unsure how it will affect rates for his customers specifically, but warns prices for everything in the territory will go up.
According to not-for-profit group Canadians for Public Justice, one tonne of greenhouse gas is equivalent to travelling 2,400 km.
Former Thebacha MLA Michael Miltenberger said there is definitely a difference in the way industry will perceive the carbon tax.
“It’s physically and economically impossible for industries (like transportation and trucking) to earn back rebates when there are no alternatives,” said Miltenberger.
He added carbon pricing for industry is often overlooked in comparison to residential users because more people are effected by residential rates.
To earn the rebate businesses will need to show they are cutting the costs of their greenhouse gas usage. Miltenberger said at sites like the Ekati Diamond Mine they are already making an effort to cut their greenhouse gas emissions.
“There was the initial question on how this carbon tax would impact the life of the mine,” he said. “There’s no doubt that investment in renewable energy has allowed them to cut costs and (as a result) given them great PR.”
The mine implemented a 9.2 megawatt wind-farm in 2015 which reduced their carbon footprint by 6.5 per cent. That is the equivalent of 14,404 tonnes of carbon dioxide, stated the Dominion Diamond Mines website.
There are 22 NWT communities who rely 24/7 on diesel generators. Miltenberger said the GNWT is planning on providing communities resources such as solar- and wind-power in order to make life more affordable, allowing them to earn a higher monthly rebate.
“The message I have for the smaller communities is to not look at carbon tax by itself but look at what can be done … look at Colville Lake,” said Miltenberger. “The opportunity for renewable energy is here and we can make it work.”
Colville Lake is located 50 km north of the Arctic Circle and has a population of 129 people. The hamlet has been running on solar power energy since 2016.
Miltenberger added implementing renewable energy in the 22 NWT communities “is not rocket science.”
The collective goal which the government has put in place is a 50 per cent reduction to greenhouse gas emissions by 2028.