The Next #90Days is about Getting Carbon Pricing Right in Canada
On Saturday, at the conclusion of the Paris COP, the world achieved a historic agreement on how to go forward with global action on climate change. It includes, among its many terms, a commitment to keep warming well below 2 degrees with the aim of a 1.5 degree limit, safeguards and financial supports for vulnerable nations, and recognition that national commitments are only a starting point; deeper action will be required in the years to come. What does all this mean for Canada? That remains to be seen, but in the next three months that road back from Paris will take shape.
In the days leading up to COP and in the days during it, we have seen unprecedented Canadian movement on climate policy and, more specifically, on carbon pricing as a mechanism for lowering greenhouse gas emissions. Alberta announced its plan, which includes an economy-wide $30/tonne price on carbon. Ontario released new policy options, seeking engagement on how it will design the details of its cap and trade program. Manitoba announced its intentions to develop cap and trade and to link with Ontario’s and Quebec’s systems. There are rumblings from New Brunswick as well.
Within the next #90Days the premiers of all provinces will meet with the Prime Minister and together determine a way forward for Canada’s approach to climate change policy and the role carbon pricing will play in that strategy.
This is a historic period and a ripe one for shaping the policy decisions that will determine Canada’s path toward a lower-carbon economy. There has never been a more important moment for an engaged public discussion about how to get these policies right for Canada.
Carbon pricing and business competitiveness
Decision-makers will be looking to and listening to their constituents as they make the challenging and critical decisions about how to design carbon-pricing programs that achieve both economic and environmental priorities. That address concerns such as business competitiveness and fairness for families. That coordinate different approaches to carbon pricing across the country cohesively and effectively, while respecting the unique energy mixes and priorities of our diverse provinces.
Over the next #90Days the Ecofiscal Commission will share our research and perspectives to help inform that conversation, and we invite you to join in. We’re launching this dialogue with a little video that explains the core relationship between carbon pricing and business competitiveness. This is one of the key issues that governments across the country will need to consider and address in their policies.
But there are others. How can we ensure that our most vulnerable households are secure in a carbon pricing environment? What should governments do with the revenue generated by these new policies? What role should the federal government play in coordinating diverse provincial policies? These may seem like wonkish questions (and they are), but their answers will shape our economies, our lives, and the inheritance we leave for our children.
So over the next #90Days let’s have a conversation about carbon pricing that matters. Let’s dive in to the wonky details and explore the implications of these decisions. The Ecofiscal Commission is hard at work readying analysis to support this thinking, so stay tuned. We know that other experts and thought-leaders across the country will also have much to contribute and we look forward to hearing and engaging with their ideas.
Governments ultimately will make the calls about how these emerging climate polices are defined, but they will do so with a close ear to the ground. Now is the time to put all of the questions and all of the best thinking on the table.
Pull up a chair. It’s time to talk.