Carbon tax worries cement makers

Carbon tax worries cement makers
Published: 09 April 2008

British Columbia’s plans for fighting climate change could pose "a significant threat" to domestic cement producers, who fear that new carbon taxes and greenhouse gas emission caps will give offshore competitors a huge price advantage in local markets.

B.C. producers expect $66 million in additional costs over the next five years as a result of the carbon tax announced earlier this year by Finance Minister Carole Taylor, according to Jeorg Nixdorf, vice-president of manufacturing for Lehigh-Hanson Canada.

That amount represents a near-doubling of energy costs to produce Portland grey cement, Nixdorf said.

British Columbia’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter, with 1,028,455 tonnes of carbon dioxide-equivalents in 2006, according to Environment Canada.

The cap and trade system, so far, is just a concept - the legislation introduced last week only provides a framework to allow the province to participate with other western states and provinces in a regional cap-and- trade system now under development.

The system would fix, or ’cap,’ the amount of carbon dioxide a large industrial operation can annually pump into the atmosphere - and set up a trading regime in which companies getting credits for lowering emissions can swap them to companies that need additional credits.