Put price tag on carbon emissions, Canadian report says

Canada needs to put a price tag on carbon emissions or face economic fallout, according to a new report from the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE).

The government-commissioned report – published last week – takes a look at medium and long-terms goals by 2050, indicating businesses will have to pay a lot more for high emissions.

The report suggests that Canada needs to act strongly right away and rapidly move into a lower carbon economy.

Alexander Wood, acting president and CEO of the NRTEE said: “This report [provides] advice on climate change policies for Canada. Its findings reinforce the NRTEE’s view that – while short term action is necessary to minimise long-term economic and environmental costs – the policy focus should shift to the medium and long-term given the lead times associated with transforming our energy system and the technology research and deployment that it implies.”

Some of the cost estimates of emissions reductions in the report specify reducing 45% and 65% below 2003 levels by 2050, expressed as dollars per tonne of CO2 equivalent.

To attain a 45% reduction target, the price is estimated at $160 and $200/tCO2e in 2050. To attain a 65% reduction target, price estimates are $270 and $350/ tCO2e in 2050. The difference in prices is attributed to the GHG price path scenarios — “fast” versus “slow”. The higher prices are associated with a “slow” start.

The next version of the report – due to be published this September – will take a closer look at sectoral impacts on the environment, as well as a realistic design of a carbon-trade system, which will have a substantial impact on companies and individuals.

Another aim of the report, Wood says, is to incorporate lessons learned from other countries, including the United Kingdom in terms of goal-setting for cutting carbon emissions.

Alexander Wood said to edie: “A big part of our work is to look at what other jurisdictions – such as the United Kingdom – are doing to address climate change for the long-term…this is not something Canada has done until recently.”

Dana Gornitzki

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie