IN EARLY OCTOBER, PRIME
Minister Justin Trudeau announced a national floor price on carbon emissions, requiring every province and territory to charge emitters at least $10 per ton by 2018 and $50 per ton by 2022. The plan allows for some improvisation among provincial governments on whether to price carbon through a specific tax, as British Columbia has since 2008, or impose a carbon cap-and-trade system, as Quebec did in 2014 and Ontario will in 2017. Of course, Alberta’s own $20-per-ton carbon levy will show up next year on consumer purchases of gasoline, diesel, natural gas and propane—a levy that government and industry are now leveraging for a pipeline from Trudeau. While the B.C. system is reputedly revenue neutral, meaning the government returns the revenues through rebates and tax cuts, the Alberta system will feed two-thirds of its revenues into projects aimed at diversifying the economy away from resource extraction and toward renewable energy, transit infrastructure and energy efficient buildings.