Newfoundland on carbon pricing - Macleans.ca

Newfoundland on carbon pricing

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Continuing with our survey of provincial policies, a response from the government of Newfoundland.

In 2011, the government released Charting Our Course: Climate Change Action Plan 2011 setting out the government’s strategy for reducing GHG emissions and enhancing resilience to unavoidable climate impacts. The Plan contains 75 economy-wide commitments. In the Plan, government reiterated its commitment on a provincial basis to the regional targets adopted by the Forum of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers in 2001, namely, reducing provincial GHG emissions to 1990 levels by 2010, by 10% below 1990 levels by 2020, and by 75-85% below 2001 levels by 2050.

In view of the share of GHG emissions coming from the large industrial sector (51% in 2010), government stated in its 2011 Climate Change Action Plan that it would require the large industrial sector to contribute to GHG reduction efforts going forward. The sector encompasses electricity generation, mining, oil refining, offshore oil and large-scale manufacturing. In Plan, government committed to develop, and publicly release in 2012, a detailed approach to reducing GHG emissions in the sector. Government recognized the importance of ensuring any approach was both environmentally progressive and economically prudent.

Government has established good working relations with the companies in the large industrial sector, leading three rounds of bilateral consultations, engaging companies in technical work to assess GHG abatement opportunities and competitiveness considerations, and maintaining an ad hoc dialogue with companies on key issues as they arise. Government has discussed three main approaches to reducing GHG emissions with the industrial companies: regulation with market based alternative compliance (conceptually similar to Alberta and Saskatchewan), emissions trading (Western Climate Initiative), and carbon taxes. In early 2013, government will finalize which of these three approaches it will pursue. This timeline is a few weeks behind the public commitment to release its approach in 2012, however the issue is quite complex and government wished to ensure that a comprehensive assessment was completed.