Through the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, the Canadian government will implement a nationwide tax on carbon emissions in all provinces and territories by 2018, with the goal of reducing its carbon emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels nationally by 2030. Through the country’s framework it will make the effort to reduce carbon emissions nationwide—already 80 percent of its population lives in an area with carbon reduction goals but this will make it effective across the country and help it transition to a clean energy economy.
The announcement comes shortly after the Paris Agreement on Climate Change went into effect on Oct. 5. The ratification of that document by 74 out of 197 United Nations member countries, represents the majority of polluters in the world and means that countries must take action to curb their emissions.
“Pricing pollution is one of the most efficient ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to stimulate innovation. Already 80 percent of Canadians live in a province where there is pollution pricing. We want to continue this trend and cover the final 20 percent,” said Catherine McKenna, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change.
Under the new framework, each jurisdiction has the choice to put a direct price on greenhouse gas emissions or may choose to adopt a cap-and-trade system. Those jurisdictions choosing direct pricing will charge $10 Canadian (13.3 USD as of October 2016) per metric ton of emissions in 2018, increasing $10 Canadian per year to $50 Canadian ($66.3 USD) per metric ton by 2022. Under the cap-and-trade system the number of greenhouse gas emissions permits available to businesses will drop yearly until 2022.
Provinces and territories that do not adopt one of the two pricing systems by 2018 will have one mandated to them that will best fit regional needs, according to the country’s environmental agency. Already more than 80 percent of its population who live in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, have adopted policies that already price carbon emissions.
“I have heard from Canadians from across our country, and their message is clear: climate change is one of the defining issues of this century and they expect their governments to lead the way and take action. To make sure the next 50 years are better than the last 50 years, we need to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and transition to a low-carbon economy that works for everyone—especially the middle class and those working hard to join it,” added McKenna.
The Canadian government’s cooperative input and consultation from rural and urban citizens, indigenous groups and business groups have been essential to reducing emissions and foster clean economic growth. Since all revenue raised by carbon emissions pricing stays within each territory, the money can be reinvested into local and regional economies as well as fund future research and innovations in clean energy resources like solar and wind.
Although the US has made strides in adopting green policies through tax incentive programs to promote solar and wind and curb emissions under President Obama’s Administration, it still has not caught up to Canada’s progressive national approach. In fact, the Obama Administration’s most ambitious effort, the Clean Power Plan is still held up in courts. However, states are taking action. For example, Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York has signed a directive called Under 2 MOU that is intended as a statewide commitment to address climate change by reducing carbon emissions 40 percent by 2030 by capping and pricing carbon emissions. New York Gov. Mario Cuomo’s (D) Shared Renewables Program is also encouraging growth in the solar energy market in New York by bringing 150,000 PV panels to homes and businesses by 2020.Tweet