n the mind of any environmentalist, today truly is a day to mark, as Canada’s provincial and territorial premiers meet in Ottawa to discuss climate change and the growth of cap-and-trade systems under a federal government that’s stalled out and stranded in the middle of a busy freeway.
Yesterday, Ontario announced it will be joining Quebec and California in a cap-and-trade system. While companies are currently allowed to pollute the atmosphere for free, the new system would place limits on emissions from companies, and those that want to exceed those limits can buy carbon credits from companies that burn less than alotted.
Today’s meeting in Quebec City includes all leaders except B.C.’s Christy Clark, Alberta’s Jim Prentice, Nova Scotia’s Stephen McNeil and P.E.I.’s Wade MacLauchlan. Although, those provinces will have other representatives at the meeting.
In 2014, many Canadian premiers agreed to form a national strategy on energy and climate policy in the absence of federal leadership. National Post columnist Andrew Coyne writes:
“And if a price on carbon is what is required, it only makes sense to do it nationally, rather than subject businesses to 10 (13, counting the territories) different carbon regimes, each with their own set of rules and exceptions. Actually, it makes the most sense to do it globally, since that is the scale of the problem. Realistically, however, in the absence of a world government, that’s not going to happen. But we have a federal government. So what’s our excuse?”
Ontario committed to carbon pricing in 2008, signing the Western Climate Initiative with California and Quebec.
That said, not everybody is thrilled about Ontario’s enviro news. And Coyne addresses this in his column, too:
“Carbon taxes are visible to consumers, where the impact of cap and trade tends to be buried in the final prices of things. Carbon taxes typically apply across the board, whereas cap and trade is most easily applied to a relatively small number of large emitters. And that’s where the trouble starts. Not only does that narrow the scope for reducing emissions, but it invariably opens the way for business to lobby for special treatment.”
If you have concerns about cap-and-trade’s impact on your business, Solidwastemag.com encourages you to share your thoughts below in the Have Your Say comments box. Let’s get some conversation going.