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Comparative Approaches to Carbon Taxation in Canada and South Africa: Balancing National Aspirations with Global Realities

Andrew Gilder, Geoffrey Stiles


This paper undertakes a high-level description and comparative analysis of the, respective, Canadian and South African approaches to carbon taxation, with a view to identifying lessons for design and implementation of carbon taxation regimes, particularly in light of reinvigorated international interest in carbon markets and pricing. We find that, while the Canadian examples demonstrate the importance of simplicity, the more complex and nuanced South African approach, if effectively implemented, will permit taxpayers greater of control over their tax liability. We conclude that optimally designed carbon taxation regimes will achieve balance between simplicity, complexity and flexibility, taking into account national circumstances, capacities and requirements, cognisant of international developments.

Andrew Gilder, LLB (South Africa) is a Director of Climate Legal, Honorary Lecturer, Law Faculty, University of KwaZulu Natal; Extraordinary Senior Lecturer, Law Faculty North-West University and Fellow of the South African Research Chair in Cities, Law and Environmental Sustainability. Geoffrey Stiles (Canada) is a specialist, independent consultant on renewable energy, energy efficiency and carbon pricing. For Correspondence: <>, <>.


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