Thursday, July 31, 2008

Out Of Step?

One of the chief criticisms, primarily coming from the NDP, Dion's carbon tax is largely out of step with the worldwide trend. Cap and trade is emerging as the global response to combatting climate change, a carbon tax not part of the mix. Relating to the disingenious either/or argument, it is interesting to note that today I read of two more countries considering a carbon tax, which just so happens to be entertained with a complimentary cap and trade component.

India:
NEW DELHI: The energy coordination committee headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has suggested imposition of a carbon tax on polluting power stations. The proposal would club India with a select group of countries that tax carbon emissions directly and boost the renewable energy initiative.

The ECC has also suggested that carbon tax should not be a standalone initiative and there was also a need for introducing a system of emission trading in order to avoid problems in the country’s negotiating position on climate change.


South Africa:
Cabinet has mandated the National Treasury to investigate the possible imposition of a tax on carbon-dioxide (C02) emissions as part of South Africa's voluntary commitment to climate-change mitigation, Environmental Affairs and Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said on Monday.
Speaking at a briefing in Cape Town held to outline South Africa's newly adopted strategic direction and framework for climate policy, Van Schalkwyk said that Treasury would examine the most appropriate fiscal measures to support government's long-term mitigation scenario (LTMS). These could include taxes as well as incentives to help place South Africa's economy on a low-carbon growth and development path.

"We will be looking at ways to increase the price on carbon through an escalating CO2 tax, or an alternative market mechanism," the Minister elaborated, indicating that the tax could initially be introduced at low levels, but escalate to higher levels by 2018 or 2020.

I mention these examples, because it counters this idea that the world is choosing one path, as people such as Nathan Cullen and Jack Layton suggest. The idea of a carbon tax is alive and well, gaining traction around the world, as countries contemplate what to do. It also suggests that many don't see the conflict with different approachs to combat emissions, working in tandem. As a matter of fact, when speaking of who is "out of step", it would appear the either/or crowd creates an unnecessary polarization, more political than practical.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

"The energy coordination committee headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has suggested imposition of a carbon tax on polluting power stations."

This sounds more like fine on industries that pollute than a carbon tax on "polluting" power stations. Regardless, India is considered one of the world's worst culprits when it comes to GHG emissions - so i wouldn't be too quick to point out pronouncements by the PM of India as justification for any policies to be implemented in Canada.

Anonymous said...

Manning supports it. Eventually China will come around to it. What the NDP doesn't seem to get (or maybe they do and are just posturing) is that cap-and-trade can work with a carbon tax, they're not exclusive.

Blues Clair said...

"Regardless, India is considered one of the world's worst culprits when it comes to GHG emissions"

Emissions Per Capita for the year 2000. (Tons Co2 Equiv.)
India = 1.9
Canada = 22.1

Steve V said...

anon

Isn't it good that India is thinking about the concept? I mean, isn't this Harper's stupid line?

Anonymous said...

My attitude is that if Preston Manning supports it - it must be bad.

It may well be that cap and trade could conceivably work with a so-called carbon tax - pity that the Liberals refuse to include any explicit cap and trade in their plan - all they say is that they don't rule it out sometime, somewhere, someday...

Steve V said...

My attitude, if Preston Manning and the David Suzuki support it, you might be on to something.

catherine said...

Anon, it would be needlessly complicated to try to simultaneously lay out concrete plans for both a carbon tax and cap and trade. Since the tax can be implemented quicker and the costs are better known, it makes sense to first focus on this.

I think the important thing is that Dion has made it clear he supports carbon pricing and recognizes that cap and trade and carbon tax are both good forms of carbon pricing. To do otherwise, as Layton has done, sends a mixed message, which can only make it more difficult for Canada to move forward with carbon pricing.

Anonymous said...

Oh so now its just too complicated for Doctor Professor Dion to put out a plan for both a carbon tax AND cap and trade...what's wrong? can't he walk and chew gum at the same time?

Meanwhile, I'm still waiting for an actual estimate or target of just to what extent the Liberal carbon tax is supposed to actually reduce emissions - so far all we know is that Dion will wave his magic wand and then like magic GHG emissions will miraculously fall - by how much we do not know - if at all.

Steve V said...

anon

Try to keep up, Dion has said we will work others to ultimately develop a cap and trade, but short term this is the answer. He actually laid it out chronologically, if the Libs took power in 2008, their plan would end by 2012, which just happens to be when the western initiative cap and trade kicks in. Essentially, filling in the vacuum now, while having a long term goal, so the funny part he is actually walking and chewing gum at the same time.

Deb Prothero said...

Here's the link to Dion's 2007 Carbon budget

http://www.liberal.ca/pdf/docs/whitepaper_EN.pdf

which includes cap and trade.

Then on page 22 of the Green Shift

http://www.thegreenshift.ca/default_e.aspx ,

Dion endorses both approaches. The Carbon budget states that the goal is 6% below 1990 levels as per our Kyoto commitment and the Carbon budget is still in play along with the Green Shift plan.