Trudeau, Premiers Agree on Climate Change Framework

Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and provincial and territorial Premiers met recently in Vancouver to discuss shared challenges including climate change. They issued a statement establishing a framework on how to fight it including the possibility of a carbon pricing structure.

The federal government committed itself to do six things:

  • Support climate change mitigation and adaptation through investments in green infrastructure, public transit infrastructure and energy efficient social infrastructure;
  • Work together with the provinces and territories on how best to lever federal investments in the Low Carbon Economy Fund to realize incremental emission reductions;
  • Advance the electrification of vehicle transportation, in collaboration with provinces and territories;
  • Foster dialogue and the development of regional plans for clean electricity transmission to reduce emissions;
  • Advance efforts to eliminate the dependence on diesel in Indigenous, remote, and Northern communities – and use renewable, clean energy as a replacement; and
  • As part of Canada’s participation in Mission Innovation, double investments in clean energy, research and development over five years, and work with global partners to promote cleaner energy and better environmental outcomes.

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The statement committed to a carbon price mechanism that would be “adapted to each province’s and territory’s specific circumstances.”  No specifics were offered. Media reports say the federal government is willing to impose one if no agreement is reached among the Premiers.  Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall fears the impact of a carbon price on his province’s economy.  He estimates that it could cost homeowners an additional $500/year.

Ontario Introduces Cap& Trade

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne introduced a Cap & Trade policy as part of its 2016 provincial budget.  The plan would see carbon allowances auctioned off in 2017 raising an estimated $1.9 billion to invest in green projects.

A second piece of legislation has also been introduced on transparency.  The Climate Change Mitigation and Low Economy Act will require three things including an annual report on money flowing in and out of the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Account.  “It will hold government accountable in the fight against climate change, support a prosperous low-carbon economy and build a better future for the planet,” Glen Murray Minister of the Environment and Climate Change said.

Under the new policy gas will go up 4.3 cents/ litre at the pumps, and heating oil will increase $5/month.