In the Chamber -- Grant Mitchell's Blog

Hoping for Cap and Trade

Posted 5/8/2009 by Grant Mitchell


Last week may have seen an important step in the government’s commitment to climate change policy. I desperately want to believe that.


Minister Prentice announced that he is developing caps on carbon emissions from coal-fired electrical plants. Cap and trade will be the policy of choice for Mr. Obama and we will be drawn into that regime whether we like it or not. Getting ready for it is a good idea.


There are some problems with this:

  1. There is no indication of how much this will contribute to achieving the government’s stated goal of reducing Canada’s carbon emissions by 20% of 2006 levels by 2020, because we don’t know what the caps will be. It is one thing to have emission caps, and it’s another to make them effective.
  2. There is a problem with their 2020 target because it is not supported by the climate change science. That calls for much deeper cuts much more quickly, before we pass a point of no return.
  3. There is an indication that these targets will be absolute. They need to be. Intensity targets are like having your basement filled with 3 feet of water and taking some measures so it rises to 5 instead of 6 feet. You still have too much water in your basement.


I hope this is the start of something bigger and better.

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