Justin Trudeau: ‘There is no hiding from climate change’

National carbon price to be $10 a tonne in 2018, $50 by 2022, Trudeau says

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at a Global Compact Luncheon at the United Nations headquarters in New York on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at United Nations headquarters on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016. (Sean Kilpatrick, CP) 

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pre-empted climate change negotiations with Canada’s premiers, announcing that the federal government will impose a pan-Canadian floor price on carbon pollution.

Trudeau revealed Monday his plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, starting in 2018 with a low carbon price of $10 per tonne that would rise by $10 per tonne each year until it reaches $50 per tonne in 2022.

And he gave the provinces just two options for implementing that price: either impose their own direct price on carbon that meets or exceeds the national floor price, as British Columbia has already done, or set up a cap and trade system, such as Ontario and Quebec are developing.

If any province or territory does not implement one of the two options by 2018, “the government of Canada will implement a price in that jurisdiction,” Trudeau warned, adding that all revenue would be given to the province or territory in which it is generated.

“There is no hiding from climate change,” he told the Commons. “It is real and it is everywhere.”

“We cannot undo the last 10 years of inaction. What we can do is 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 prime minister made the announcement as he kicked off a debate in the House of Commons over whether Canada should ratify the Paris accord on climate change. It came as provincial environment ministers were meeting in Montreal with federal counterpart Catherine McKenna to hash out an agreement over carbon pricing.

“The air was sucked out of the room,” Yukon’s Currie Dixon said of Trudeau’s announcement, calling it an odd way to build collaborative policy.

And Scott Moe, Saskatchewan’s minister, said, “Many westerners will see this as ‘national energy program 2.0.”

All three northern territories and Saskatchewan are opposed to carbon pricing.

While Alberta’s NDP government supports a common price on carbon across the country, Premier Rachel Notley served notice that she’ll oppose the federal plan until she sees “serious concurrent progress” on the pipelines that her province needs to get its oil sands crude to tidewater.

“Albertans have contributed very generously for many years to national initiatives to help other regions address economic challenges,” Notley said in a written statement.

“What we are asking for now is that our landlock be broken, in one direction or another, so that we can get back on our feet.”

Quebec’s David Heurtel, the chairman of the meeting, and Ontario’s Glen Murray both welcomed the new federal policy, saying it fully recognizes their provincial jurisdiction.

Trudeau argued that pricing carbon pollution will give Canada a “significant advantage” in building a cleaner economy, compel businesses to innovate to find ways to reduce their emissions and create potentially hundreds of thousands of “new and exciting” clean tech jobs.

Conservative environment critic Ed Fast accused Trudeau of taking a “sledgehammer” to the provinces after having promised to usher in a new era of federal-provincial collaboration.

NDP environment critic Linda Duncan and Green Party leader Elizabeth May said the plan falls short of what needs to be done, criticizing Trudeau for adopting the previous Harper government’s targets for reducing emissions which the Liberals used to call weak and inadequate.

“We have the Conservative party thinking we go too far, we have the NDP thinking we’re not going far enough,” Trudeau observed.

“I think — like most Canadians will think — that we have got the right balance.”



Justin Trudeau: ‘There is no hiding from climate change’

  1. “… adding that all revenue would be given to the province or territory in which it is generated.”

    The above makes it much more difficult to argue against the imposition of a carbon price.
    One wonders, however, what Trudeau would do if an affected province merely gave the money back to the companies/industries that generated the carbon pollution (and thus the money).

    • Exact it is going to be touched by every single government agency possible. More big government BS. 1 dollar going in will come out at 70 cents at best.

      • If you’re going to make the statement that climate change is a major crisis that we all have to make sacrifices for, then you can’t load the family in a jet plane and go on vacation.
        It’s like Carrie Nation buying shares in the Jack Daniels Distillery. Kind of mutes the message, don’t it?

  2. There is no hiding from climate fraud.

  3. PM Pinocchio just tuned a democracy into a dictatorship. More to come…Don’t blame me I didn’t vote for the commie.

  4. Politicians will bloviate on any issue. Mr. Trudeau must take some blame for this by prefacing this action by making a big point about the necessity for climate change action when in fact carbon pricing is a minor component of a GHG reduction plan and largely ineffective as compared to direct action. The notion of carbon pricing is a) increasing cost will make fuel use less competitive spurring a shift to other energy sources b) producing a source of revenue to fund new energy initiatives. Detractors of course like to tally the cost assuming a business as usual scenario. The Canadian fed scheme is a perversion as instead of assigning revenue to new energy initiatives it would provide a revenue stream for provincial governments; this is a disincentive to provincial action as increased GHG production would result in increased provincial revenue. A more basic problem with carbon pricing is that it imposes a small burden on GHG producers which at best may spur them to improve efficiency leaving the responsibility for action to entrepreneurs who might leverage carbon credits: at best it’s a minor adjunct to an effective GHG plan.
    Where does the proposed price stand? It’s less than the current price in California and above the current price in the EU.
    Oddly, in a number of jurisdictions where renewable energy and natural gas are out-competing other fossil fuels, there is a push to subsidize legacy GHG producers such as coal-fired power plants. One twist, including western Canadian provinces, is resistance based on protecting coal and oil from the competitiveness of natural gas.