Canada West Foundation calls for provincial, not federal, climate initiatives

In an interview with CBC radio’s The 180, Trevor McLeod, Director of the Centre for Natural Resources Policy at the Canada West Foundation, argues that the provinces, not the federal government, should be responsible for climate policies within their own jurisdictions. It is rumoured that the Ontario government also prefers an Ontario-led climate initiative rather than a federal initiative.

McLeod’s arguments appear to include:

provinces jealously guard natural resource ownership,

environment is a shared jurisdiction under the Constitution, and

differences among provincial economies make a one-size-fits-all approach impractical.

He appears to believe that if climate change is left to the provinces they will come together to develop an overarching national climate change program that can be presented to the world as a Canadian initiative.

GallonDaily believes that this Canada West Foundation proposal should be rejected by business, particularly those businesses that have greenhouse gas emitting operations in more than one province or that ship products between provinces. Sooner or later, climate initiatives will inevitably affect more than just the largest emitters. The only way to reach the targets to which Canada has committed is to apply carbon-reducing initiatives to every sector of society. This can be done through carbon taxes, numerous forms of cap and trade program, incentives, and regulations. If action is left to the provinces we suggest that history shows that each and every province will head in a different direction. Substantial coordination among the provinces is unlikely. So companies doing business in more than one province will face:

  • carbon taxes in some provinces but not in others, as already exists
  • cap and trade programs that encompass some provinces but not others and that have different reporting requirements in different provinces
  • industrial and end-user incentive programs that vary from province to province
  • greenhouse gas emissions regulations that are different in each province
  • tailpipe emission regulations which change whenever a vehicle crosses a provincial boundary
  • some provincial requirements based on resource extraction while others are based on utilization of the resource

Companies dealing with packaging stewardship are already grumbling loudly about the inefficiency, from a business perspective, of the several different stewardship models in use across the country. Imagine how much more arduous dealing with ten or more different greenhouse gas emissions control regimes would be.

The radio interview and a brief summary can be heard/seen at http://www.cbc.ca/radio/the180/niqab-ban-endangered-species-three-party-candidate-1.3000139/should-carbon-pricing-fall-to-provinces-regions-or-the-feds-1.3000523 

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