(photo: La Presse)

The Ontario and Quebec premiers and their cabinets met today in Quebec City. Their topic was a carbon cap-and-trade system, and John Baird is howling. Nobody should leap to conclusions. The surprise is not that Ontario and Quebec are working this closely together now, but that it took them so long. It would be noteworthy, however, if Jean Charest held a grudge over some of Stephen Harper’s earlier associations and decided that, if the federal Tories can throw him over on a whim, he can be whimsical too.



  1. Well, something has to fill the void.

    Perhaps Harper’s long-rumoured secret agenda is to decentralize by forcing provincial premiers to take action that would normally be federal, because of a paralyzed and useless Ottawa.

    It would be just like Trudeau’s secret agenda to rob and bankrupt Albertans! (hee hee.)

  2. The Star is such an authoritative media source.

  3. Huge irony here. Alberta’s original version of its Climate Change Emissions Management Act (CCEMA) was skeletal, and developed in large part to “occupy the field,” in the apprehension of a constitutional fight with the feds as to whether provinces or the federal government had jurisdiction to regulate greenhouse gases (i.e., David Anderson imposing Kyoto targets). Then, in a twist, the provincial and federal bureaucrats cooperated quite nicely in coordinating their efforts for the expected imposition of the Liberal Green Plan – which was held up by wrangling between Natural Resources and Environment Canada. And then died when Paul Martin’s head exploded mid-campaign.

    The CCEMA was pumped up in 2007 and the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation implemented under it, which raked something in the order of $1 billion last year into its Technology Fund from industry who were not able to make themselves 12% more carbon efficient in a short period. That sort of money could, and eventually will, go toward carbon credits, in addition to emissions reductions.

    The federal “Turning the Corner” plan is similar, but stricter (i.e., 18% reductions instead of 12%, and the ability to achieve compliance by just paying into a Technology Fund quickly erodes – although it doesn’t kick in until 2010) and and explicitly calls for a transition from an intensity-based emissions reduction system to a cap and trade one – somewhere around 2020 I think.

    In my view, the intensity/cap-and-trade transition scheme makes sense. But it exists in the backdrop of a mostly functioning European cap-and-trade market, and a fair amount of private carbon credit trading. And BC has now joined that group, although we haven’t seen it work just yet.

    The irony I promised in my first line is this: Alberta might now hope the feds argue that greenhouse gas regulation is, in fact, federal jurisdiction, to stomp all over the plans of Ontario and Quebec. The more likely hope is that everyone just fights it out, while Alberta does its own thing and lets the oil sands projects on the books get going – although more regulatory certainty, regardless of its stripe, would be welcome. It is also this: without Alberta, the largest source of carbon credit buyers in a cap-and-trade system is Ontario, rather than BC or Quebec.

  4. Paul, can we put a ‘cap’ on comments that are more than 2x the size of the post they are supposed to be commenting on?…

  5. Hey, fun. Matt could buy some of my comment space. To be fair, we try not to restrain exuberance among commenters, except when it devolves into harangues against other commenters. So far we’ve had almost none of that.

  6. Sorry – was a) on soapbox, b) annoyed by Mike G’s response of “filling the void” and gave a fulsome response.

  7. Monday: Charest and McGuinty announce carbon trading, put price on carbon.

    Tuesday: price of carbon becomes clear as GM Oshawa plant slated for closure.

    Still waiting: for any reporter anywhere to make the connection.

  8. Yes, why aren’t reporters drawing direct connections between Canadian provincial environmental policy and truck plant closures across North America?

    From the Dallas Business Journal (through Google News; emphasis added):
    The Oshawa truck plant […] will likely close next year. The Moraine plant near Dayton, will stop making Chevy TrailBlazer, GMC Envoy and the Saab 9-7x by the end of 2010 or sooner if demand dictates. The Janesville plant will cease production of medium-duty trucks by the end of 2009 and the Tahoe, Suburban and GMC Yukon in 2010 or sooner. In Toluca [Mexico], production of Chevrolet Kodiak medium-duty trucks will stop by the end of this year.

  9. GM is still making trucks somewhere. I suppose you are suggesting that they simply flipped a coin, that no calculations of present and future cost of business were done?

  10. I think they cut the trucks that aren’t selling. Or they expect not to sell. I also think that for political reasons, they are less likely to cut US jobs than Cdn or Mexican ones (not that $ doesn’t matter, just that politics/image at “home” matters too.)
    I be stunned if the GM is capable of making reliable future cost estimates of the carbon trading announced on Monday, because the details just aren’t there; also, the probability of a similar regime being implemented in the US is also high.

  11. “The plant won the JD Power Gold Award for initial quality in 2006, 2005, 2003, 2002; as well a numerous other individual awards for the specific models it produces. In 2007, the plant won silver for initial quality, and a Gold Best in Segment award for the Pontiac Grand Prix, and Bronze Best in Segment for the Monte Carlo.”


    A top quality plant, for several years running. And I am to believe that the cost of business in Oshawa going forward was not a factor? That the price of taxing carbon is not lost jobs?

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