Thursday, December 3, 2009

Canada Makes Dramatic Shift on Climate Change Management Policy

Canada already helps developing nations adapt to climate change and now the Canadian government has signalled that it is getting serious about reducing emissions at home.

In a very significant development, on Thursday December 3, 2009, the ruling Conservative government indicated that it will now focus on absolute caps for industrial emissions. Previous Conservative policies had called for carbon intensity targets that would have allowed businesses to meet targets while increasing their emissions.

Appearing at a parliamentary committee, Environment Minister Jim Prentice said the government's strategy would call for a national cap-and-trade system with "absolute caps" to put a price on carbon, under a harmonized structure with the US. "We are talking about a cap-and-trade system, a continental cap-and-trade system that involves absolute emission reductions, not intensity targets," said Prentice.

To be able to easily harmonize with the US, Prentice said, his officials are preparing a two-track climate change policy that includes both cap-and-trade and a regulatory approach. The Canadian Environment Minister is watching to see if the US passes cap-and-trade legislation or whether they will proceed with a regulatory approach under the Environmental Protection Agency. If cap-and-trade does not become law in the US than Canada will follow a regulatory approach, such as the one proposed by the US Environmental Protection Agency.

Canada's adoption of absolute limits, cap-and-trade and if need be government regulation, are important concessions from a government that has not been amenable to green interests.

Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper has indicated that he will follow the US President and the Chinese Premiere to Copenhagen. AP reported that Harper said he looked forward to “a comprehensive agreement in Copenhagen, where we will actually get on with reducing emissions as opposed to just setting absolute targets.”

Prentice will also be going to COP15 where there is renewed hope that we may be able to reach a new political agreement to reduce climate change causing emissions. However, the Conservatives will have offer much more than their proposed 3% emissions reductions over 1990 levels by 2020.

Next: Why Canadian Conservatives Made Concessions on Climate Change Policy

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Anonymous said...

Where did you get this information??? It hasn't even made the news in Canada.

The Green Market Oracle said...

Keep watching. I expect it will be a big story tomorrow across Canada.