Pembina eNews: British Columbia Introduces Landmark Carbon Tax Legislation (June 2008)

British Columbia Introduces Landmark Carbon
Tax Legislation

Solar
PanelBritish Columbia has become the
first province to introduce a full-fledged carbon tax. A carbon tax puts a
price on the carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change, spurring
innovation, investment and jobs in the clean energy sector. While this
legislation is a welcome move, the Pembina Institute and other
environmental organizations note that in order to meet its climate change
targets, the Government of British Columbia will need to compliment the
carbon tax with a cap on industrial greenhouse gas pollution. “In
order to be effective,” explains Matt Horne, the Pembina
Institute’s Energy Solutions Director in British Columbia, “the
province must set caps that are at least 33% below 2007 pollution levels by
2020.”

» Read related media releases: B.C.
Environmental Groups Applaud Carbon Tax Legislation

» Cap and Trade System Could Tackle the Source of 40% of
British Columbia’s Greenhouse Gas Pollution

» Download Pembina’s Cap and Trade report: Cap and Trade:
Reducing Pollution, Inspiring Innovation

Feeding the Electricity Grid Renewably

Photo: NRELIf Canada is to meet
its climate change commitments, there needs to be a massive increase in
renewable energy and energy efficiency efforts. Feed-in tariffs, also known
as Renewable Energy Payments or Renewable Energy Standard Offer Contracts,
have been demonstrated to be the most effective policy mechanism that a
country can use to foster the rapid development of renewable energy
systems. Renewable Energy Payments are legislated premium prices paid to
producers of renewable energy over a guaranteed period, making the
installation of renewable energy systems a worthwhile and secure investment
for producers. Close to two-thirds of the world’s wind energy and half
of its solar PV systems have been installed as a result of Renewable Energy
Payments.

» Download the primer: Feeding the Grid
Renewably

Alberta Industry Fails to Reduce Greenhouse
Gas Pollution

Syncrude at NightThe Government of
Alberta recently announced the results of the first year of its targets to
reduce industrial greenhouse gas intensity levels. Although the province is
claiming success, the preliminary results indicate that only about half of
the mandatory reductions were actually achieved. Instead of achieving the
full target, industry paid $15 per tonne into the government’s Climate
Change and Emissions Management Fund. Dan Woynillowicz, one of the Pembina
Institute’s Senior Policy Analysts, says the government’s claim of
success is misleading because it is highly unlikely that money put into the
fund will result in an equivalent amount of emission reductions. The
Pembina Institute has shown that, to achieve real reductions, the
government needs to set a price for greenhouse gas pollution — either
through a carbon tax or a true cap and trade emissions trading system
— that is no lower than $30 per tonne now and at least $75 per tonne
by 2020.

» Read the media release: Alberta Industry Fails
to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Pollution

Government Dismisses Multi-stakeholder
Recommendation for Moratorium on Oil Sands Leases

Athabasca RiverThe Government of
Alberta has dismissed an unprecedented call from industry, aboriginal
groups and environmental organizations to pause oil sands land sales in the
Fort McMurray region. The stakeholders believe that lease sales need to be
halted to allow for proper planning and to establish conservation areas
that can mitigate the serious cumulative impacts that oil sands development
has on the boreal forest. The Pembina Institute’s Oil Sands Program
Director, Simon Dyer, expects that Albertans will be disconcerted by the
government’s dismissal of the recommendations since the request came
from groups representing diverse interests who are working collaboratively
to develop a forest conservation plan.

» Read the media release: Government Dismisses Multi-stakeholder Recommendation
for Moratorium on Oil Sands Leases

Kearl Panel Fails to Answer Federal
Court’s Questions

Imperial Oil’s Kearl Oil Sands Project — a massive project
slated to strip mine 200 square kilometres of boreal forest north of Fort
McMurray to reach the oil sands underneath — is back in court.
Earlier this year, environmental groups successfully argued that the
environmental assessment of the Kearl project was flawed. In its decision,
the Court stated that the assessment panel had failed to provide sufficient
reasons to support its conclusion that the expected 3.7 million tonne
increase in annual greenhouse gas pollution from the project would have an
“insignificant”impact on the environment. The project was halted,
and in May the panel was asked to justify their conclusion. Rather than
answer the Court’s question, the panel skirted the request. The Federal
Court rejected Imperial Oil’s appeal to start disturbing fish habitat
before the environmental assessment is complete.

Read the related media releases:

» Kearl Panel Fails to Answer Federal Court’s
Questions

» Green Groups in Court to Defend Tar Sands
Victory

Urban Sprawl Threatens Ontario’s Climate
Change Targets

Urban SprawlOntario needs to get
tough on urban sprawl if the province wants to meet its climate change
commitments. A report by the Pembina Institute identifies sprawl as one of
the biggest obstacles to Ontario’s ability to reach its greenhouse gas
reduction targets. Cherise Burda, Ontario Policy Director for the Pembina
Institute, points out that in the coming years, the majority of greenhouse
gas pollution in Ontario is expected to be transportation-related and
driven by urban sprawl, but urban planning in Ontario is still paving the
way for the automobile.

The Pembina Institute outlines seven priority areas that the province
needs to address to combat sprawl and help meet Ontario’s greenhouse
gas emission reduction targets. They include incorporating sustainable
energy policies into urban planning policy and increasing urban density
targets.

» Read the media release: Urban
Sprawl Threatens Ontario’s Climate Change Targets

» Download the report: Getting Tough on
Urban Sprawl: Solutions to Meet Ontario Climate Change Targets

Government System of Land-Use Planning
Threatens Ability to Protect Environment

Alberta
FoothillsThe Pembina Institute
partnered with Water Matters to bring the Government of Alberta’s lack
of planning for rapid development to the attention of Albertans. Currently,
there is no law that requires decision-makers to consider the cumulative
impacts of development on Alberta’s air, land and water resources. The
Pembina Institute and Water Matters recommend that the government develop
and implement an effective and integrated system to proactively manage the
environmental impacts of rapid growth.

» Read the media release: Government
System of Land-Use Planning Threatens Ability to Protect
Environment

» Download the report: Curing Environmental
Dis-Integration

» Related information: Alberta by
Design
, a report by the Pembina Institute and Canadian Parks and
Wilderness Society

» Alberta by Design checklist

Hot Off the Press

Curing Environmental Dis-Integration

The Alberta government has advanced a number of
strategic initiatives in relative isolation from one another. This report
concludes that multiple strategies that individually address air, land,
water and the activities that affect them will ultimately prove
unsuccessful unless they are integrated through a common, legislated
regional planning process.

A Fortune at What Cost?

High mineral prices and investor-friendly policies are driving
new mining development across Northwest British Columbia. This primer
considers potential impacts from one proposed project located in what is
considered the sacred headwaters region of the province. The project would
open pristine wilderness to new activity and substantially increase British
Columbia’s production of coal – one of the most concentrated sources of
climate change pollution.

Feeding the Grid Renewably

Feed-in tariffs have been demonstrated to be the most
effective policy mechanism that a country can use to foster the rapid
development of renewable energy systems. Close to two-thirds of the world’s
wind energy and half of its solar PV systems have been installed as a
result of feed-in tariffs.

Cap and Trade: Reducing Pollution, Inspiring
Innovation

British Columbia is developing a cap and trade system
that could ensure that large industry and aviation reduce the pollution
that causes global warming. This report describes the key elements needed
for this policy to successfully achieve low-cost solutions to the
province’s climate challenge.

Getting Tough on Urban Sprawl: Solutions to meet Ontario
climate change targets

This report, the sixth in a series of Ontario progress
reports stresses the need for Ontario to integrate its fairly ambitious
climate change targets into planning policy. Ontario has shown leadership
in its land-use planning policy and its stated commitments to addressing
climate change, but problems and shortcomings in its approach may keep
Ontario from meeting its own goals.

Pembina Op-Eds

Canada’s Industry
Regulations: Not “Turning the Corner” Anytime Soon

By: Clare Demerse, Senior Policy Analyst

Clare
DemerseWhen Canada’s federal government published an update to
its regulatory approach for heavy industry this month, environmentalists
hoped that this much-criticized proposal had been strengthened. Instead,
the update offered a mixed bag that probably served to weaken an already
feeble approach.

Canada and the
Bali Roadmap

By: Cherise Burda, Director Ontario Energy Solutions

Cherise
BurdaOntario recently set up a Climate Change Secretariat to
coordinate and implement Ontario’s climate plan. The secretariat is a good
move, but it needs to have the authority to ensure all ministries are
accountable and the muscle to wrestle with Ontario’s strongest lobbies.

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