A Feminist Perspective on Carbon Taxes
Canadian Journal of Women and the Law, Vol. 21, No. 2, p. 171, 2010
57 Pages Posted: 30 Sep 2010 Last revised: 26 Jun 2013
Date Written: June 28, 2010
Effective domestic policies are urgently needed to address climate change. A great deal of energy is devoted to selecting and designing the optimal policy instruments, with questions of environmental effectiveness and economic efficiency dominating the debate. However, it is equally important to consider how those policies will impact upon different segments of society and to ensure that they are designed in a way that is fair and does not further entrench systemic inequalities. This article approaches this social justice issue by examining carbon taxes from a feminist perspective, specifically considering how carbon taxes impact upon women. The article proposes the gender analysis of environmental taxes framework, which goes beyond the evaluation of distributional impacts to consider non-income impacts, implications of related mitigation, and revenue-use policies as well as the outcome of the measure. Applying the framework to British Columbia’s carbon tax and Québec’s redevance annuelle reveals that women may bear a disproportionate burden of the increased prices created by carbon taxes. The chapter also demonstrates that policies designed to mitigate the impact of carbon taxes on low-income households do not address income disparities between women and men, nor do they take into account the socio-economic status of women. The author concludes with recommendations for developing carbon pricing policies that avoid perpetuating existing systemic inequalities between women and men and that might even help to overcome these inequalities.
Keywords: Gender, carbon taxes, climate change, environmental policy, feminism, gender studies, environmental taxation, social justice, distributional impacts
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