Canada’s Trudeau sells carbon price deal to provinces

Canada’s Trudeau sells carbon price deal to provinces

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Canada’s Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has persuaded the country’s 10 provinces to accept the concept of putting a price on carbon but agreed the specific details could be worked out later.

The compromise deal was unveiled at the end of a tough day’s talks with the provinces, many of which had signalled their opposition to the idea of Ottawa imposing a single price across the country.

greenhouse-gas-emissions-canadaReuters Newsagency reports instead, the two sides agreed that mechanisms for pricing carbon would take into account each province’s specific circumstances.

The two sides will present more detailed proposals at a meeting in October.

Mr Trudeau’s Liberal Party won the national election last October on a pledge to do much more than the previous Conservative government to curb emissions of greenhouse gases, which are climbing as firms exploit Canada’s vast crude-rich oil sands.

Canada-Ontario-study-Wind-Turbines“There will be different approaches but pricing carbon is part of the solution that this country and all of its premiers will put forward,” Mr Trudeau told a news conference.

The provinces, which enjoy significant jurisdiction over the environment, were wary of the central government’s intentions and said they should be allowed to cut carbon emissions their own way.

The federal government can unilaterally impose a tax, although Mr Trudeau has been pushing for a pan-Canadian solution.

Canada-PM-Justin-Trudeau-Quebec-Premier-Philippe-CouillardThere was a moment when the conversation was frank,” Mr Trudeau said, promoting Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard to break into a broad smile.

Reuters reports that asked whether a province could avoid a set price for carbon Mr Trudeau said the matter would be among those discussed over the next six months.

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, speaking to reporters after the talks, said he believed his province’s existing Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) initiative would count as a pricing mechanism.

canada-saskpower-CCS-project“It’s a price on carbon for sure,” he said, adding: “If there is a notion that comes forward that this (agreement) is some sort of license to pursue a national carbon tax, I will be in disagreement with that.”

The previous federal government had pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, a target that official figures show is out of reach in the absence of radical measures.

tar-sands-mining-canadaMr Trudeau expressed optimism Canada could reach the goal “because we are putting forward a comprehensive and ambitious plan.”

He did not give details.

The political wrangling on a carbon tax eclipsed the other major point of contention among provincial leaders and Mr Trudeau, the construction of new crude oil pipelines.

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