Reality Sinks In

April 19th, 2011 Comments Off on Reality Sinks In

Okay I get it. Canada will not have a national carbon tax anytime soon. There will be no upstream cap and trade system either.

There is a slim possibility that we might see a federal version of the Western Climate Initiative. This version will include weak and mostly ineffectual incentives to encourage the participation of provinces not already committed. Even this slim possibility depends on two unlikely conditions. First, we need either a Liberal, or NDP, or a Liberal-NDP coalition government to form in the 41st Parliament.  Second, we need all parties other than the conservatives to continue to agree (see Pembina Survey) on the merits of pricing carbon. This would be a much harder once they are in government.

Realistically, irrespective of which government forms in the upcoming parliament, the federal government of Canada is not going to do anything different from what the United States does on climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency will mandate command and control regulations on large sources in the United States. Faced with the threat of border tax adjustments, we will follow.

So reluctantly I accept that incentive based climate policy is not in the near federal future.  There is no way a climate change bill is getting through a republican house of representatives in my lifetime.

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  • About Me

    I am an Associate Professor in Environmental and Resource Economics at the University of British Columbia, Canada.

    Through my research I try to gauge the efficacy of policy designed to help the environment. This research is usually joint with colleagues from the University of British Columbia---the real brains behind it. I recently studied automobile sales in Canadian provinces to determine if tax rebates for hybrid vehicles were cost-effective. Studying appliance sales in the US, I analyzed whether mail-in rebates for energy star appliances helped promote their adoption. I am currently studying whether British Columbia's vehicle retirement program, BC SCRAP-IT is cost-effective and am trying to understand what motivates someone to participate in it.

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