"Facts are meaningless. You could use facts to prove anything that's even remotely true!"
-Homer J. Simpson

Monday, January 07, 2008

Carbon Tax vs. Cap and Trade

So the federal Conservatives are rejecting the recommendation for a carbon tax:

The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, a panel of Canadian experts from environmental groups and the business world, concluded that Canada could achieve a 65% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 by acting as soon as possible with measures that would put a price on activities that result in the release of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere.
Although the Harper government asked the round table for its advice in 2006, Environment Minister John Baird quickly dismissed the carbon tax proposal as a "Liberal idea," explaining that he had already addressed the concerns raised in the report by introducing a new federal green plan that sets a price on carbon emissions.

They (the cons) are now proposing a Cap and Trade system:

Baird has rejected all criticism of his government's plan from independent research groups, economists and environmentalists, insisting he would stick with a plan to limit the growth of pollution from large industries instead of forcing them to make absolute reductions in their greenhouse gas emissions.
The government has not finalized regulations for industry, but it has pledged to deliver them in 2008 to start up a new domestic cap and trade system, along with a technology fund.

I actually don't think the NDP should be critical of this, I think they should be supportive. After all, it is what they have called for:

Give fair notice to large emitters that, starting in 2008, permissible emissions will be capped and the cap will be annually reduced with an eventual goal of a 50 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030.

Introduce a market-based auction for available emission credits in 2009, with credits divided among sectors. At the outset, the auction will cover less than 10 per cent of available credits, with a goal of all emission credits sold by auction by 2030. Proceeds from the sale of emission credits will go to sustainability projects.

Note the date of June 20th, 2006. The NDP was ahead of this bandwagon and should be congratulating the conservatives on having seen the light and having come on side.

BTW, I happen to think a cap and trade system makes a lot of sense, both environmentaly and economically, So do the union of concerned scientists, read more here.