Press Release: SES supports Federal carbon pricing backstop

Press Release
Saskatchewan Environmental Society
Friday, May 19, 2017
For immediate release

Saskatchewan Environmental Society supports Federal carbon pricing backstop in absence of adequate provincial plan

Yesterday, the Government of Canada released a technical paper with additional details about a national carbon pricing framework. Specifically, their plan outlines the minimum requirements carbon pricing systems across Canada must meet, whether they take the form of a cap and trade or carbon tax.

The Federal Government intends to apply a “backstop” option that will apply only to provinces that do not have a system of their own. To date, Saskatchewan remains the only province in Canada that has indicated it will not implement a carbon pricing system.

Ideally, the Saskatchewan Environmental Society would like to see the Saskatchewan Government design and implement a provincial carbon pricing system that would work for Saskatchewan businesses and people. The Federal Government notes that the Provinces are better placed to design their own system. However, in the absence of a provincial alternative, the Saskatchewan Environmental Society is supportive of the federal backstop detailed in the technical paper.

Specifically, the Saskatchewan Environmental Society is pleased to see that the backstop is designed as a hybrid system – targeting downstream emissions with a carbon levy and upstream emissions with an output-based allocation system for large industrial emissions. This approach will ensure businesses and individuals face a price incentive to reduce emissions, while having the potential to take into account competitiveness concerns for emissions-intensive, trade exposed industries.

The framework will also apply to important greenhouse gases other than carbon dioxide, covering a wide range of emissions sources.

The federal government has re-iterated its commitment to returning all carbon levy revenues to the province.

“We do not yet have a plan in Saskatchewan that will reduce emissions 30% below 2005 levels by 2030,” said Hayley Carlson, Policy Coordinator. “The carbon pricing system outlined by the Government of Canada is sensible, and if systems are uniform across Canada, and eventually the world, this will reduce costs in the long-run.”

Carbon pricing is a fair way to price pollution, ensures those businesses that use energy efficiently and invest in solutions pay less, and is one of the most cost-effective ways of meeting our climate goals. Carbon pricing can finance innovation, and will make new technologies that produce alternative energy or capture carbon, more cost-competitive.