Is Win-Win Possible? Can Canada’s Government Achieve Its Paris Commitment . . . and Get Re-elected?

Simon Fraser University, School of Resource and Environmental Management / By Marc Jaccard, et al.

[The Canadian Press] …Jaccard concludes that to force Canada to meet the goals it agreed to at the Paris climate summit, that price would have to be $200 a tonne. No government in the world will set that, he said.

B.C. has frozen its carbon tax at $30 a tonne. Alberta has no plans to go beyond that level. Governments in France and Australia have already cancelled carbon taxes in the face of public opposition.

Jaccard points instead to a tool that is already reducing carbon in some of the world’s largest economies — regulation.

“All climate policies that are actually effective are politically difficult,” he said. “The only issue is which ones are more politically difficult.

“Taxes are more difficult than regulation.”…

Economists often argue that pricing carbon is more efficient because it lets consumers make their own decisions about how much energy they want to use. But efficiency is not the same thing as effectiveness, said Jaccard.

“Economists love to chant about that, but economists don’t have to get re-elected.”

Jaccard acknowledges that carbon regulations don’t mean a price isn’t being paid. They simply hide it.

Using regulations to de-carbonize Canada would increase the price of a litre of gas in Ontario to about $1.70 by 2030 from just under $1, he writes. Electricity in Alberta and Saskatchewan — the two most coal-dependent provinces — would rise up to 18 per cent. It would cost about $10 more to produce a barrel of oilsands oil.

But they could just work, Jaccard said. And they would be a lot less likely to destroy the governments that introduced them….


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