Canada is going to have a nationwide carbon tax by 2018. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has plans for a carbon tax to be in place in all of the 10 provinces as well as the three northern territories. The Canadian government has pledged to adopt new national policies that are strong on climate change. So the country has two years to start implementing a tax on carbon emissions.
The measure will be a serious move towards curbing emissions. It will signal Canada’s commitment to making an effort regarding climate change. It will also have significant implications to Canada’s economy.
Canada Prepares for a Carbon Tax
The Canadian Prime Minister spoke in front of the House of Commons on Monday. He put forward his plan for the comprehensive tax on carbon emissions. The initial levy would be $10 for every metric ton of carbon emissions in 2016. That’s about $7.60 in US dollars. The amount would rise incrementally over a period of years. The target is $50 for every metric ton by the year 2022.
Provinces have the possibility of opting out of the carbon tax. They can choose to adopt a cap-and-trade system instead. However, to be able to do that, they need to prove that their plan will achieve an even better effect. Their cap-and-trade system has to do better at limiting emissions than a carbon tax.
Either way, provinces have to adopt programs that will help lower emissions. Canada has set a goal for itself to lower greenhouse gas emissions by 30% compared to the levels of 2005. The time frame in which Canada plans to do this is until the year 2030.
Climate Change Goals
As part of his announcement, Justin Trudeau spoke about climate change, its effects and the future. He said that there is no way of hiding from the reality of climate change. He added that climate change is real and that it is everywhere. Trudeau said that it wasn’t possible to undo the past 10 years when government policy was characterized by inaction. But he said that what is possible is to “make a real and honest effort — today and every day — to protect the health of our environment, and with it, the health of all Canadians.”
The overall targets for emissions reductions are the same as the ones that the previous government had set out. The previous government had been a Conservative one, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Environmental critics have weighed in on the issue and they say that the targets are not as ambitious as they could be. They are hoping for the government to do more.
Elizabeth May is the leader of the Green Party in Canada. She reacted to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement with a statement. In the statement, she criticized Harper-era targets. She said that these targets for greenhouse gas emissions are some of the lowest among industrialized countries. May said that if Canada keeps these unambitious targets, it will fail at doing its part to holding back the increase in global average temperature.
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