VANCOUVER – Today’s announcement that the federal government will introduce a national carbon price beginning in 2018 marks the beginning of a much needed national climate action strategy. While the majority of Canada’s economy is already subject to some form of carbon pricing, this move by the federal government will ensure provinces and territories move forward together.
The federal government will still need, however, to rely on additional policies to reduce emissions to meet Canada’s 2030 targets, given the modest carbon price compared to existing provincial policies. These additional emission reduction approaches should include regulations to phase out of coal-fired electricity over the next 10 years, a national requirement for zero emission vehicle sales, investment in renewable energy and public transportation infrastructure and the elimination of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, which act in direct opposition to a price on carbon.
“A national carbon price is an essential foundation for an effective Canadian climate action strategy, but additional policies are needed to uphold Canada’s international climate commitments,” said Ian Bruce, director of science and policy for the David Suzuki Foundation. “Today, Canada joins the ranks of leading nations including the UK, Denmark and Sweden that have a price on carbon and have boosted renewable energy within their borders.”
Funds from the national carbon price will remain in the provinces and territories where they are generated and the price will be revenue neutral for the federal government, according to the announcement. “For this policy to be truly effective, a portion of the funds raised should be reinvested in clean technology and renewable energy projects and infrastructure,” Bruce said.
“A carbon price provides a clear market signal that makes clean technology more affordable and polluting technologies more expensive,” Bruce said. “But to accelerate the shift to a clean economy, it is critical to direct some of the money raised into projects that will further drive down emissions and lay the foundation for a clean growth century.”
Polling research of Canadians conducted by the Environics Institute between 2008 and 2015 suggests that 61 per cent support a price on carbon emissions. Strong opposition to this approach, on the other hand, has fallen from 28 per cent to 17 per cent.
Steve Kux, David Suzuki Foundation: 604-374-4102