Canada’s new national carbon price is a giant leap forward. On October 3, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood in the House of Commons and uttered these few words on carbon pricing. It sets the stage for the beginning of a transformation away from fossil fuels to a clean energy platform by 2050.

Trudeau’s government will price carbon pollution starting at a minimum of $10 per tonne in 2018, rising by $10 each year to $50 per tonne in 2022.

If carbon pricing is not in place by 2018, the Government of Canada will implement a price in that jurisdiction.

Giant Leap Forward

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government have found the moral courage to act on climate.

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Following are a few excerpts from a press release issued by Cathy Orlando who is the National Director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) in Canada. In her email message to CCL members, Cathy revels in “this auspicious moment” and “monumental milestone”:

Yesterday’s carbon pricing announcement for Canada was sooner and much better than I expected. It is certainly not enough to do our fair share to avert climate disaster. However, this is a giant leap forward. It opens a huge door for fact-based discussions about carbon pricing and marks a true beginning for the economic transformation we need. Our work on carbon pricing is not done yet in Canada.  Gratefully,  it has been made a lot easier with this announcement.

Mark Reynolds is the Executive Director of Citizens’ Climate Lobby which is based in the United States. He congratulates CCL Canada for its unrelenting pursuit of a national carbon pricing strategy:

Canada’s plans for a steadily-rising price on carbon is a major breakthrough in efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. It provides the inspiration for the U.S. and other nations to follow Canada’s lead with similar action. After the historic Paris climate agreement, where nations made commitments to reduce emissions, the lingering question was how those reductions would be achieved. Canada has answered that question and provided a great example for the rest of the world.

The Carbon Pricing Plan

Canada’s carbon pricing plan sets a floor price of $10 per tonne in 2015 rising by $10 per year to $50 in 2022. Each jurisdiction will need to decide between a cap-and-trade system or a carbon fee on pollution.

If provincial premiers and territorial leaders fail to act on pricing carbon pollution, the federal government will impose one of the two prescribed systems. The program will be revenue-neutral with carbon revenues being returned to the provinces and territories.


Published October 3, 2016
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Still A Long Way To Go

Although Canada is exercising global leadership by announcing a national carbon pricing strategy, there is still a long way to go. Our current targets for reducing emissions were set by Stephen Harper, a man who won many international fossil-of-the-year awards as the absolute worst climate villain. Now signed into the Paris Agreement, these targets represent the weakest of all industrialized countries.

The 2015 Liberal election platform called for “the creation of national emissions-reduction targets” designed to prevent the “catastrophic impact” of a “greater-than-two-degree increase in average global temperatures.”

Central to this will be the creation of national emissions-reduction targets, informed by the best economic and scientific analysis. These targets must recognise the economic cost and catastrophic impact that a greater-than two-degree increase in average global temperatures would represent, as well as the necessity for Canada to do its part to prevent that from happening. We believe that Harper’s targets are inadequate and meaningless without a plan to achieve them. (from the platform).

In 2005, Canada produced of 749 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions according to Environment Canada. The Trudeau government must now cut 225 megatonnes, down to 524 megatonnes per year — a formidable if not impossible challenge — to reach its Paris targets. The following chart is illustrative of the daunting challenge facing Canadians.

Canada’s Emission Projections in 2020 and 2030 (Mt CO2 eq)
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Shows the expected range of emissions in 2020 and in 2030 under different economic and energy price and production scenarios. Environment and Climate Change Canada.

In announcing a national carbon pricing strategy, Canada is showing the kind of climate leadership promised by Trudeau in Paris when he said that “Canada is back.”

There is no hiding from climate change. It is real and it is everywhere.
(Prime Minister Justin Trudeau)

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climate ironyRolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Activist and a blogger. He’s a member of 350.Org (Ottawa), Climate Reality Canada and Citizens’ Climate Lobby (Ottawa). Rolly has been published widely in both print and online publications. You can follow him on FacebookTwitterLinkedin and Pinterest.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Well, good for Canada! It is a step forward, albeit a small one. At least Canada has started to show (some) serious commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions which is more proactive than anything I’ve seen from Britain’s Government.

    However I remain cautious as there is a mixed message here…. Is Trudeau playing a game that will increase carbon taxation (lining governmental coffers) while also increasing development of Canada’s oil and gas industry?

    Certainly, Provincial Premieres appear to be confused by Trudeau’s sudden new carbon policy. http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/10/03/news/breaking-feds-announce-pan-canadian-carbon-price-plan-2018

    I would like to see Canada set a good example to the rest of the world with a well thought out strategy for keeping greenhouse emissions to a level that keeps global warming at below 1.5°C. Am I living in a world where ‘pigs might fly?’ It remains to be seen. Fingers crossed!

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