The Carbon Tax and Low-Income Individuals: Differences in Concerns Among Rural and Non-Rural Residents

June 2021
Isabel Chaney

Carbon taxes have been suggested by economists as the most cost-effective means to curb greenhouse gases emissions, but many people fear that such a tax would be inequitable. A content analysis of newspapers local to British Columbia and Alberta, two Canadian provinces with carbon taxes, was conducted to understand how rural and non-rural residents view this issue. Rural residents are more likely to be concerned that the carbon tax will impact low-income individuals because they will have no alternative energy sources. Rural and non-rural citizens alike fear that the revenue from the carbon tax will be used at the government’s discretion. These findings suggest that policymakers should make clear where carbon tax revenues are being spent. In addition, they may choose to use carbon tax revenues to fund expansion of renewable energy in locations that lack alternative energy sources.