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provincial carbon pricing - Canada
Climate and Energy

The question is not if Canada needs to lower greenhouse gas emissions, but rather when and how. The answer is now—through provincial carbon pricing.

You can almost hear it. The loud crack of a middle ground erupting, cutting through the din of Canada’s polarized economy-versus-environment debate on climate change.

What’s brought it to the surface? A broadening agreement among Canadians that “doing nothing” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is simply not an option, but that “doing something” must not (and need not) undermine our economic prosperity. This is a good thing. It moves us past the question of “if” we need to deal with Canada’s GHG emissions challenge to the more important question of “how.”

This is where The Way Forward begins: with a question that asks how. How can we reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Canada in the most cost-effective and practical way? In a way that positions our economy to thrive in the 21st century? Imagine a dozen leading economists from across the country in a room together wrestling with this question. (Hint: It wasn’t quiet). Economists are about as famous for consensus as we are for our optimism. But in the making of this report, we ultimately found both.

The process behind the way forward

It was not an easy process. Yes, it took months of research, analysis, discussion, and debate. But it took something else, too: a widening of the middle ground from which we started. It was not enough for us to agree that something must be done to lower Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, and that it must be done in a cost-effective and practical way. That was the easy part. We also needed to agree—and did—that making progress quickly was the number one priority, and that some important details about policy could follow.

Once we adopted the lens of urgency, “the way forward” for pan-Canadian progress on climate change became increasingly clear. Strong provincial carbon pricing policies, applied broadly, and even independently, make good economic sense for every province—and for Canada as a whole. Designing those policies to recognize essential economic differences as well as different provincial priorities is nothing more than practical. We were mindful of a key aspect of Canadian history—that leading national policies in this country often have their roots in provincial action. Perhaps most important, building on the momentum that is already under way in our provinces gets us what we most need: progress.

This approach holds reason for optimism. More than that, it holds reason for action.

Read more in our Provincial Carbon Pricing Interactive Summary, which includes an infographic, videos, and interactive graphs.

Launch the Interactive Summary

1 comment

  1. Carm Hofen

    “How much is climate change going to cost us in the next few decades? Such predictions are notoriously difficult to estimate with precision. However, the scale of potential damage is clear and telling. Rising sea levels threaten coastal cities. Invasive species, diseases, and droughts pose risks to our food production. Warmer winter temperatures raise costs for our natural resource industries. The increased intensity and frequency of extreme weather events—floods, storms—damage property and infrastructure, and, worse, cost Canadian lives.”

    “Such predictions are notoriously difficult to estimate with precision.” Perhaps because there hasn’t been any global warming for almost two decades? Perhaps because all the UN’s climate computer models predicting doom and gloom have failed to match real-world observations and data? Perhaps because the demonized “carbon” is not a pollutant, but essential to life on earth? Perhaps because we don’t even know enough about how climate changes naturally (and it does all the time) to be able to assess whether or not man’s activity plays any significant role in climate variations? How then can you make this statement with a straight face: “However, the scale of potential damage is clear and telling.”? Really?

    You should concentrate on the real environmental problems we have instead of promoting the biggest scientific deception of all time, and advocating the pernicious taxation of thin air based on a phoney global climate emergency.

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