Canada can lead on cli­mate change

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - OPINION -

Julie Gelfand, Canada’s Com­mis­sioner of the En­vi­ron­ment and Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment, bluntly out­lined that the govern­ment has failed to im­ple­ment suc­ces­sive green­house gas emis­sions-re­duc­tion plans. Her as­sess­ment cov­ers the 2010-2017 time pe­riod.

An im­por­tant com­po­nent of the Pan-Cana­dian Frame­work on Clean Growth and Cli­mate Change is the car­bon pric­ing leg­is­la­tion. Cur­rently, 86 per cent of Canada’s pop­u­la­tion is al­ready cov­ered by a car­bon price and by 2018 that num­ber will rise to 100 per cent. Canada’s na­tional car­bon pric­ing pol­icy will be rev­enue neu­tral for the na­tional govern­ment. All rev­enues gen­er­ated will re­main in that prov­ince or ter­ri­tory.

I ap­plaud the Cana­dian govern­ment for its na­tional price on car­bon. This is an im­por­tant step to help Canada in its tran­si­tion to a clean en­ergy econ­omy. How­ever, the fed­eral govern­ment has com­mit­ted to in­creas­ing the fee for only five years, yet the tar­get year is 2030.

A five-year com­mit­ment is not enough to meet Canada’s goal of re­duc­ing green­house gas emis­sions to 30 per cent be­low 2005 lev­els by 2030.

Our or­ga­ni­za­tion, Ci­ti­zens’ Cli­mate Lobby, calls on the Cana­dian govern­ment to ex­tend the ris­ing fee to year 2030. This will bend the curve.

From Oc­to­ber 21-24, 2017, Ci­ti­zens’ Cli­mate Lobby Canada mem­bers will be in Ottawa lob­by­ing their MPs. We will present five sim­ple steps to im­prove Canada’s car­bon pric­ing pol­icy.

1. That the car­bon price is econ­omy-wide and is ap­plied up­stream: At the well­head, coal mine or point of en­try into the econ­omy.

2. That the na­tional car­bon price con­tin­ues to rise past 2022 with the ob­jec­tive of Canada ex­ceed­ing our Paris tar­gets and be­com­ing a world leader in tack­ling the cli­mate cri­sis and in the clean tech in­dus­try.

3. That border tax ad­just­ments are in­cluded in the pol­icy to level the play­ing field for do­mes­tic in­dus­tries with in­ter­na­tional ju­ris­dic­tions with­out a sim­i­lar car­bon price.

4. That the fed­eral govern­ment work with the prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries to en­sure pro­vin­cial car­bon pric­ing sys­tems can keep up with the ris­ing fed­eral min­i­mum car­bon price with­out im­pos­ing any ad­di­tional bur­dens on low and mid­dle-in­come Cana­di­ans. For ex­am­ple, the fed­eral govern­ment could pro­pose car­bon fee and div­i­dend as a model pol­icy.

5. To en­sure that there is a con­sis­tent pol­icy to­wards com­bat­ing cli­mate change, that the fed­eral govern­ment, as promised in the 2015 Lib­eral elec­tion plat­form, end fi­nan­cial sub­si­dies to fos­sil fuel com­pa­nies.

Ex­tend­ing the ris­ing car­bon fee to 2030, pro­vid­ing com­pre­hen­sive cov­er­age, and im­pos­ing border tax ad­just­ments will help en­sure a strong, di­verse and com­pet­i­tive econ­omy in­spir­ing other coun­tries to take Canada’s lead.

Cathy Or­lando Na­tional Di­rec­tor Ci­ti­zens’ Cli­mate Lobby Canada Sud­bury

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