In a joint statement released yesterday, a unique partnership of industry and environmental organizations have outlined the key elements for an effective Canadian cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions.
The initiative, called the “Canadian NGO-Industry Cap-and-Trade Dialogue,” brought together nine companies and eight environmental groups to discuss the design of a cap-and-trade system for Canada. The Pembina Institute assisted in facilitating the dialogue process. Over the past five months, the group has found common ground on several key policy questions. The result is a joint statement that the group has shared with government officials.
“We want to see regulation that will achieve the environmental results without distorting markets or undercutting investments that have already been made,” said Lyn Brown, Vice President Corporate Relations & Social Responsibility for Catalyst Paper. “We’re pleased to see those principles reflected in the joint statement.”
“Collaboration and engagement are the keys to developing an effective, equitable and transparent cap-and-trade system,” said Chris Thrall from Direct Energy. “We hope that industry, government and the non-governmental sector continue to work together as Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions policy is crafted.”
According to the statement, an effective cap-and-trade system would place an absolute, national cap on emissions and cover as much of Canada’s emissions as practical from the outset. Over time the cap-and-trade system should transition from providing some allowances free of charge to requiring the auctioning of all allowances. The speed of the transition to full auctioning will depend on many factors, and will require the balancing of economic, equity and environmental considerations. Complementary policies, such as for energy efficiency, can work in conjunction with cap and trade to produce cost effective greenhouse gas reductions.
“We agreed that putting an adequate price on greenhouse gas emissions is a critical part of tackling global warming in Canada,” said Matt Price from Environmental Defence. “The ball is now in the court of our elected officials to take action on this urgent issue.”
“As a market based approach, a cap-and-trade system encourages technological innovation while ensuring that short- and long-term emissions targets are met,” noted Jonathan Moser of Dow Canada. “Cap and trade also provides the necessary flexibility for companies to determine how to comply with the emissions cap at the most efficient cost.”
Although any one entity may have a particular view on specific details, the following companies and organizations participated in the dialogue and are supportive of the statement: Catalyst Paper Corporation, David Suzuki Foundation, Direct Energy, Dow Canada, DuPont Canada, ENMAX, Environmental Defence, ForestEthics, Pembina Institute, Royal Bank of Canada, Rio Tinto, Sierra Club Canada, Spectra Energy, Sustainable Prosperity, The Toronto-Dominion Bank, and WWF-Canada.
The statement has been shared with a range of additional companies from various sectors for their review and input.