Trudeau Is Forcing All Canadian Provinces To Tax CO2 — Even If They Don’t Want To

REUTERS/Jim Bourg.

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will impose a national $10 per metric ton “floor price” on carbon dioxide emissions as part of his country’s plan to fight global warming.

Trudeau’s national carbon tax would rise from $10 (Canadian) per metric ton in 2018 ton to $50 per metric ton by 2022, according to The Canadian Press. Trudeau said Canadian provinces can charge more than the federal “floor price” if they want, but would not tolerate provinces that didn’t tax CO2.

“Provinces and territories will have a choice in how they implement this pricing,” Trudeau said Monday.

“They can put a direct price on carbon pollution, or they can adopt a cap-and-trade system, with the expectation that it be stringent enough to meet or exceed the federal benchmark,” he said, adding that for any province which didn’t tax CO2 by 2018, “the government of Canada will implement a price in that jurisdiction.”

Trudeau is basically imposing a national-scale version of British Columbia’s (BC) carbon tax. The province began taxing CO2 in 2008 at $10 per metric ton, which has since increased at a rate of $5 per metric ton per year — though BC’s tax will max out at $30 per metric ton in 2018.

BC’s carbon has long been a poster child for environmentalists looking for ways to keep people from using fossil fuels, but energy experts have pointed out that it’s not exactly a good model for the rest of Canada since the province gets most of its electricity from hydroelectric dams. Not every Canadian province taxes CO2 emissions.

Other Canadian provinces, however, aren’t keen to tax coal, oil and natural gas. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says his province can’t afford to tax CO2, and northern territories have opposed the tax as well, according to The Canadian Press.

Saskatchewan is Canada’s second-largest oil producing province and the third-largest natural gas producing province.

But that doesn’t really seem to matter to Trudeau, who’s made fighting global warming a major effort of his Liberal government.

Trudeau joined U.S. President Barack Obama in March to promise to clamp down on methane emissions from oil and natural gas production.

Obama and Trudeau pledged to reduce methane emissions 40 to 45 percent by 2025. That’s a big promise given that Trudeau governs  a country that’s heavily reliant on oil and gas exports.

“There is no hiding from climate change. It is real, and it is everywhere,” Trudeau said. “We cannot undo the last 10 years of inaction.”

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