07/24/2013 09:22 EDT | Updated 09/23/2013 05:12 EDT

No Carbon Tax Rise, Despite Program's Success

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Gold River, British Columbia, Canada

B.C. Minister of Environment Mary Polak says her government will stick to its promise to freeze the carbon tax for the next five years, despite a new study which finds it is reducing emissions.

The study from the University of Ottawa concluded that since B.C. introduced the carbon tax shift in 2008, the province's consumption of fossil fuels reduced nearly 19 per cent per capita compared to the rest of Canada.

Meanwhile British Columbia's gross domestic product has kept pace with that of the whole country.

The study's co-author Stewart Elgie said this proves the B.C.'s carbon tax is working to reduce emissions, without hurting the provincial economy.

Green MLA and climate scientist Andrew Weaver believes given those results, the province should increase the tax to encourage even more carbon reduction.

"Without any doubt, the higher the carbon tax, the greater the impact," says Weaver.

But Minister Polak says increasing the tax more would put B.C. at a competitive disadvantage.

"There's concern that if we ratchet it up too high, while other jurisdictions don't have one, it could put us at a disadvantage."

Polak says she will be lobbying other jurisdictions to introduce their own carbon tax.

Weaver says he'd be pleased to help her achieve that goal.

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