Canada would miss Paris Agreement targets under Conservative climate plan: report
The Conservative climate plan to ditch the carbon tax and instead cap emissions for larger polluters would see Canada miss its Paris Agreement targets.
That’s the finding of a new report out Thursday from analysts with EnviroEconomics and Canadians for Clean Prosperity, and comes after federal projections that the existing Liberal plan is also set to fall short in cutting emissions to the stated targets by 2030.
In the report, authors Dave Sawyer and Seton Stiebert of EnviroEconomics and Michael Bernstein of Clean Prosperity describe their goal as analyzing the recently released climate plan by Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer to get a clearer picture of what impact it would have on reducing emissions and how much it would cost Canadians to implement.
The report pegs the cost of the plan at $3.8 billion, which is above the $2.5-billion cost provided by Scheer’s office when his plan was released last month.
It also suggests the changes in the plan would increase the cost to each household in provinces where the federal carbon tax has been imposed by $295.
In those provinces with their own emissions-reduction plans, the change would cost an extra $187.
Current cost projections per household are $244 for an average Ontario household, $403 for the same in Saskatchewan, $232 in Manitoba and between $202 and $248 in New Brunswick, with all of those households receiving more money back through tax rebates than they pay in costs.
The federal carbon tax is set to go into effect for Alberta as well next year.
Canada would also miss its target of reducing emissions by 30 per cent from 2005 levels as it agreed to in the Paris Agreement, the report suggests.
The authors argue Scheer’s plan would not get emissions down to the target of 513 megatonnes by 2030.
Instead, emissions would be off from the target by 109 megatonnes, whereas current government estimates suggest the existing plan would miss the target by 79 megatonnes, even though the Liberals still insist they are on track to hit the target.
“It is not reasonable to assume the plan, as currently outlined, is scalable to close the 2030 gap to Canada’s Paris target,” the authors argued.
Scheer’s office disputed those findings and argued the report doesn’t take into account the “long-term benefits of incentivizing green innovation.”
“There are some people out there who believe that only carbon taxes can fight climate change,” said Brock Harrison, Scheer’s director of communications. “This specific group has never seen a carbon tax that was high-enough, and have appeared to design this study to support their pro-carbon tax agenda.”
The current Liberal carbon tax imposes a price on carbon of $20 per tonne, with the price increasing by $10 per year until it hits $50 per tonne in 2022.
That price is paid in two ways: by forcing smaller businesses using any of 21 types of combustible fossil fuels to pay the price per tonne, which then gets passed on to consumers for an increase of roughly 4.4 cents per litre of gasoline at the pumps.
The other avenue is for large industrial emitters (those that emit more than 50,000 kilotonnes of pollution per year), which are given certain emission targets based on the average emissions for their industry and pay the carbon tax on only the portion of their emissions that exceed those standards.
In both cases, the revenue goes into federal coffers and gets returned to Canadians in the four provinces where the carbon tax is imposed — and which have not implemented plans of their own that meet federal standards — in the form of an income tax rebate.
Scheer’s plan proposes ditching the fuel charge and, instead, only capping emissions for those large emitters that produce 40,000 kilotonnes or more of pollution per year. Those polluters would be forced to invest an as-yet-unknown amount of money per tonne exceeding the limit into clean technology research.
His plan also proposes giving Canadians a tax credit to renovate their homes to be more energy-efficient and a tax credit for businesses using green technology.
Under his plan, there would be no income tax rebates because the government would not be collecting any revenue from polluters; rather, that money payable for exceeding emissions limits would go right back into the private sector through investment by industry.
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