Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Promoting Economic Growth
Climate change, the result of both natural causes and human activity, is underway. The right response is study, coordinated action to reduce emissions, and low-tax, market-based solutions. Canada has a responsibility to implement its commitments to reduce greenhouse emissions under the Paris Agreement, while ensuring the costs of implementing this non-binding agreement are borne equitably by all parties. Without such burden-sharing, the objectives of the Paris Agreement will not be met. Moreover, there is already a high probability that the Paris Agreement will fail to alter climate trends, while distorting the global economy. As G. Cornelis van Kooten, Professor of Economics and Canada Research Chair in Environmental Studies and Climate in the Department of Economics, University of Victoria, has written:
the impact of Paris — the Obama legacy — is empty; when it comes to global warming, the impact of Paris is swallowed up in the measurement error. Its biggest impact will come via the havoc it could imply for the global economy.
Global greenhouse emissions will fall only in response to regulations and market-driven solutions that are truly global in scope. Canada should strengthen its position as a world leader in research in the Arctic, in the oceans, in the atmosphere and on land with regard to the global causes and impact of climate change. We should also become leaders in production of zero emission vehicles, carbon capture and storage.
A tax on carbon is both regressive and punitive, harming both low income Canadians and job creation. Canada is a major petroleum exporter: the federal carbon tax as now proposed guarantees that oil production, employment and associated economic activity will continue to relocate to oil-producing countries that do not tax carbon, including the United States. These job losses, combined with reduced investment and competitiveness, are hurting Canada’s present and future economic prospects, without reducing global greenhouse emissions.
We should address climate change without doing further harm to Canada’s economic development. Other oil producers either exempt their petroleum industry from carbon taxes or cap-and-trade regimes, or avoid such taxes altogether. Efforts to reduce methane emissions should be taken in step with major competitors, especially the United States. Canada should aim to be a low-emission oil and gas producer, a low-cost jurisdiction for energy in all forms, a clean tech hub, a world leader in climate research, and a growing supplier of energy to global markets.
Canada should build on its excellence in automotive parts manufacturing and assembly to become a world leader in the production of zero emissions vehicles. We should also incentivize more research-driven investment in carbon capture and storage on the basis of Canada’s CO2 Capture & Storage Technology Roadmap, as well as the experience of Saskatchewan.
A Conservative government led by Chris Alexander would:
(i) abolish any federal carbon tax;
(ii) provide a tax credit for capital investment in the energy and other industrial sectors, as well as commercialized inventions, technologies and processes flowing from private sector research and development, that lead to measurable reductions in greenhouse emissions;
(iii) ensure Canadian leadership on climate science and strengthen support for the emergence of a vibrant Canadian clean tech sector;
(iv) establish a Canadian standard for zero emissions vehicles (ZEV), as well as driverless versions, and offer Canadian automotive and parts manufacturers a tax credit for R&D resulting in the production of such vehicles in Canada, as well as a $10,000 per vehicle rebate for each Canadian-made ZEV sold in Canada; and
(v) provide innovation-drive tax credits for new carbon capture research, development and commercialization in Canada.