Canada gives big polluters a break on carbon levies

August 1, 2018
Automakers, oil companies and steel producers in Canada lobbied to lower the amount big polluters and vulnerable firms will have to pay to emit CO2

Canada is scaling back its planned carbon pricing scheme to curb greenhouse gas emissions after industry executives warned it would hurt their international competitiveness, the office of the environment minister said Wednesday.

The government released a regulatory framework for in January, which was to take effect in 2019.

After private meetings with stakeholders last week, Ottawa proposed lowering how much big polluters and vulnerable firms or those facing stiff foreign competition will have to pay to emit CO2.

Those that lobbied for the change include automakers, oil companies and steel producers that were recently slapped with protectionist US tariffs.

The new guidelines would allow some of these companies to pay a on only 10 to 20 percent of their CO2 emissions, down from a 30 percent benchmark.

The government, however, has not yet decided which firms will pay what rate.

The levy itself will not change, starting at Can$20 per ton in January and rising to Can$50 in 2022.

"We need to take action to tackle climate change and we need to reduce emissions," said Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.

"Big polluters have to pay," she said. "But we have to do it in a smart way. I've always said the environment and economy go together, and we don't want to drive industry out of our country."

Under the federal plan, each province is allowed to create its own carbon pricing regime. The federal government would only impose its levy as a backstop to those that fall short of the federal carbon price.

Quebec province, for example, is a member of California's cap and trade market, while westernmost British Columbia has a carbon tax.

Earlier this month, Ontario quit the California cap and trade market and joined Saskatchewan in suing the to try to block it from imposing its carbon tax on them.

Explore further: Canada oil sector faces 'significant challenges' to reduce emissions

Related Stories

Singapore to impose carbon tax from 2019

February 19, 2018

Singapore said Monday it would impose a carbon tax from next year to cut its greenhouse gas emissions and make companies more competitive as global agreements on climate change take effect.

Canada gets down to climate business

March 3, 2016

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau faced antagonistic provincial leaders at climate talks Thursday over his plans to set a national carbon price in order to meet an international commitment to slash CO2 emissions.

Recommended for you

Ecosystems are getting greener in the Arctic

August 21, 2018

In recent decades, scientists have noted a surge in Arctic plant growth as a symptom of climate change. But without observations showing exactly when and where vegetation has bloomed as the world's coldest areas warm, it's ...

What's behind the retreating kelps and expanding corals?

August 21, 2018

Climate change and other external forces are causing rapid marine community shifts in Japan's coastal ecosystems. Better understanding of species distribution dynamics, as driven by these factors, can improve conservation ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.