New Conservative Party leader Pierre Polivre claims Canada can cut industrial greenhouse gas emissions without a national carbon tax. So does US President Joe Biden.
Of course, that is not Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s view. He says a national carbon tax/price is the most effective way to reduce emissions related to climate change.
This raises the question of why the US was more successful in reducing emissions than Canada, which did not. Both countries had set a target of reducing emissions by 17% from her 2005 levels by 2020.
Americans without a national carbon tax cut it by 21%. Canada has cut them 9% of hers with a national carbon tax.
The difference in Canadian and US approaches dates back to 1997, when former Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien signed Canada to the UN’s Kyoto Climate Accord. From 2008 to his 2012, Chrétien’s senior aide later admitted he knew the Liberals would not achieve that goal.
Even though global warming guru Al Gore was vice president in Bill Clinton’s administration at the time, the U.S. decided to end the Kyoto Protocol after the U.S. Senate said it would hurt the U.S. economy. Rejected.
US President Barack Obama, who signed the Paris Agreement with Trudeau in 2015, failed to introduce a national cap-and-trade system (aka carbon tax) in 2010 for the same reason.
(In the 2008 federal election, Stephen Harper Conservatives backed a national cap-and-trade system believing the United States was trying to implement it, leaving Canada with no choice but to do the same.) No. When cap-and-trade was rejected in the United States, the Conservatives abandoned the plan.)
What the Americans did and what the Canadians didn’t The market will force emissions reductions.
For example, Canadian provinces banned fracking, but Americans used fracking to unlock huge natural gas reserves and make it economically viable to replace coal-fired power with natural gas. U.S. emissions have fallen dramatically because natural gas burns with half the carbon intensity of coal.
The G-7, of which Canada and the United States are members, and the European Union have classified natural gas as a transitional form of green energy.
All of this leads to Biden’s US$370 billion climate plan, which was approved by Congress in August. The plan does not include a national carbon tax.
Hundreds of billions of dollars have been allocated for US consumers to purchase electric vehicles and other green energy products and services, and for US manufacturing and industrial sectors to develop and adopt new green energy sources.
Also, the U.S. oil and gas sector expands access to offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska, expands tax credits for coal- and natural gas-fired power plants that use carbon capture technology, and uses coal. Provides incentives for building wind and solar projects in the region. Mines and coal-fired power plants have been closed, and $60 billion has been allocated to low-income and minority communities who are disproportionately affected by climate change.
This includes penalties for industries exceeding US methane emission limits starting in 2024, but nothing comes close to a national carbon tax like the one here.
Biden has pledged to cut U.S. emissions by 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, while Trudeau has promised a 40% to 45% reduction. Let’s see what happens.