Cal­i­for­nia gover­nor as­sails PC plan to ditch sys­tem

Ottawa Citizen - - FINANCIAL POST - PAOLA LORIGGIO

The gover­nor of Cal­i­for­nia waded into an On­tario elec­tion is­sue Mon­day, say­ing a Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive plan to scrap the prov­ince’s ca­pand-trade sys­tem would be fool­ish.

Gov. Jerry Brown was asked about the con­tro­ver­sial Tory pro­posal af­ter meet­ing with Lib­eral Premier Kath­leen Wynne to dis­cuss next steps to fight cli­mate change.

On­tario re­cently linked with Cal­i­for­nia and Que­bec to hold joint cap-and-trade auc­tions af­ter run­ning its own sys­tem for a year.

The Tories ini­tially promised to re­place cap and trade with a car­bon tax, since fed­eral rules re­quire prov­inces to adopt one of the two sys­tems.

But the party’s new leader, Doug Ford, has vowed to elim­i­nate car­bon pric­ing al­to­gether and sug­gested he would fight Ot­tawa in court if nec­es­sary.

With the prov­ince headed to the polls in June, both Wynne and Brown raised the alarm Mon­day about what they called a step back­wards in tack­ling global warm­ing.

Rolling back car­bon pric­ing only de­lays progress and in­creases costs down the line, Brown said when asked about the Tory plan.

He ref­er­enced U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump, whose ad­min­is­tra­tion has clashed with Cal­i­for­nia on car emis­sion stan­dards and other mea­sures on air pol­lu­tion. “Trump is al­ready pilot test­ing this kind of ma­noeu­vre and so far it’s more lit­i­ga­tion than ac­tion,” he said. “The sci­en­tists are clear (on cli­mate change), the world is clear through the Paris agree­ment ... . ”

Brown added that car­bon pric­ing is an area where some politi­cians “can make a lot of noise” and urged vot­ers to scru­ti­nize cam­paign prom­ises.

“Some­times they ’ll win a few votes, but there’s also a lot of buyer’s re­morse here,” he said. “Cer­tainly you can see that in the United States now.”

Wynne said the prov­ince has come far in re­duc­ing its car­bon foot­print and has seen eco­nomic growth as a re­sult. “It’s very im­por­tant that we stay on track but right now we’re in a sit­u­a­tion where we have an op­po­nent in Doug Ford and the Con­ser­va­tives who ba­si­cally want to take us out of the game,” she said.

The Tories, mean­while, re­newed their com­mit­ment to elim­i­nat­ing cap and trade, call­ing it an ex­pen­sive tax “that makes life harder for On­tario fam­i­lies and our econ­omy more un­com­pet­i­tive.”

“We will put money back into the pock­ets of On­tario tax­pay­ers and stand up for our job-cre­ators,” they said in a state­ment.

Jerry Brown

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