Prime minister Justin Trudeau announced that 8 out of 10 Canadian provinces have signed a deal to implement a carbon tax, in order for the country to achieve its sustainability goals.
Trudeau said the move will help Canada meet its international climate change obligations. Under the current draft, carbon pollution would cost C$10 (£6, US$7.60) a tonne in 2018, rising by C$10 a year until it reaches C$50 in 2022. This move, along with the phase-out coal, will hopefully turn Canada from one of the world’s biggest polluters into a green leader. In November Canada announced it would phase out the use of coal-fired electricity by 2030.
“Taking traditional coal power out of our energy mix and replacing it with cleaner technologies will significantly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, improve the health of Canadians, and benefit generations for years to come,” the environment minister, Catherine McKenna, said.
Trudeau himself noted:
“There is no hiding from climate change,” Trudeau told the Commons. “It is real and it is everywhere. We cannot undo the last 10 years of inaction. What we can do is make a real and honest effort – today and every day – to protect the health of our environment, and with it, the health of all Canadians.”
However, it’s not just about greening the country, there is sound economic sense to a carbon tax. It could generate jobs working in the renewable industry and would fight social inequality, while also compensating some of the externalities generated by consuming fossil fuels. But not everyone is happy. According to The Guardian, the premier of Saskatchewan, Brad Wall, said the carbon price would make Canadian firms less competitive at a time when Trump looked likely to adopt policies cutting energy costs.
“The level of disrespect shown by the prime minister and his government is stunning,” Wall said in a statement. “This new tax will damage our economy. The bottom line is that the Saskatchewan economy, already hurting from a downturn in commodity prices, will be one of the hardest hit by a new federal carbon tax because of our trade-exposed resource industries.”
Alberta’s premier has also said that her oil-rich province will not support the tax unless the federal government makes progress on new oil pipelines to Canada’s coasts, but the rest eight provinces have already agreed to this tax or a cap-and-trade system.