Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

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Ontario to get cap-and-trade plan rolling in 2017

The lede: “On the first day of the new year, Ontario will launch its cap-and-trade system on carbon in a bid to vault the province to the front lines of the battle against climate change.”

From the Globe and Mail: (“Ontario set to tackle climate change with cap-and-trade launch on Jan. 1“):

It is the centrepiece of the Wynne government’s Climate Change Action Plan, meant not only to meet tough targets for slashing greenhouse gas emissions but to spark a sweeping transition to a low-carbon society by changing the way Ontarians get around, heat their homes and run their businesses.

The cap-and-trade system is getting high marks from environmental experts, who say it will achieve its central aim of driving down emissions. But critics caution that the plan contains financial pitfalls: A lack of checks means there could be few restrictions on how the government spends revenue raised from the system, while volatility in other carbon markets suggests the amount of revenue will fluctuate wildly.

Cap-and-trade also contains a major trade-off. It will link up with similar systems already in place in California and Quebec, creating a carbon market covering more than 60 million people and making the cost of cap-and-trade cheaper than it would otherwise be. This link, however, will likely mean that, in the short term, Ontario companies will subsidize emissions cuts by firms in California and Quebec more than they will cut their own emissions – helping those other jurisdictions switch to a low-carbon economy before Ontario does.

Glen Murray, Ms. Wynne’s environment minister, insists that this link is necessary. Not only because a larger carbon market produces the sorts of economies of scale that make emissions cuts cheaper, he says, but because, as Donald Trump prepares to assume the U.S. presidency and threatens to roll back any federal action on the climate file, it will be more important than ever for subnational jurisdictions to work together.

“You’re seeing the states become much more activist on climate change, much more determined in the subnational coalitions that exist,” he said. “Since the Paris agreement, the greatest level of action on climate reduction is coming at the state, provincial and municipal level.”

Read the whole thing.

Tue, December 27 2016 » * Big Picture Stuff, Main Page