Ottawa says carbon levies could cut emissions equal to shutting 20 coal-fired plants by 2022
The Liberal government defended its carbon-pricing plan Monday, with an analysis that concludes the federal and provincial levies would reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 90 megatonnes by 2022, the equivalent of shutting down more than 20 coal-fired power plants.
The Environment and Climate Change Canada report provides the Liberal government’s answer to a longstanding demand from Conservative MPs to reveal the impact and cost of the federal carbon pricing legislation that is currently working its way through Parliament as part of the 2018 budget bill.
“Our analysis confirms that carbon pricing works, and that it is critical to any credible plan to fight climate change,” Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said in an interview Monday. “It’s cost-effective, and, also it creates the incentive to choose cleaner solutions ... which not only saves you money, but it also creates good jobs here in Canada.”
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe last week revealed that his government will ask federal court to rule on whether Ottawa has the jurisdiction to impose a carbon tax in one province but not another. Conservative opposition leaders in both Ontario and Alberta vowed to scrap the provincial carbon levy if they win power in elections to be held in June in Ontario and next spring in Alberta.
The Liberals point to strong economic growth in the four provinces that currently have carbon prices.
The Parliamentary Budget Office last week estimated that a $50 per tonne levy in all provinces would cost the economy $10-billion in lost GDP by 2022, though that figure could be dramatically reduced if provinces and the federal government returned the carbon-levy revenue to households and businesses through other tax cuts.
The Liberal government has made no decisions on the trajectory of carbon prices after 2022, though many environmental economists say it would have to be considerably higher than $50 if Ottawa is going to hit its 2030 target to reduce GHG emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels.
Federal and provincial governments are relying on a mix of carbon pricing, subsidies and regulations to meet their targets.
Ms. McKenna described Mr. Scheer’s pledge to meet GHG targets without imposing a price on carbon as “magical thinking.”
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The Globe and Mail
April 30, 2018