Canada Wonders, if U.S. Balks, Is Carbon Pricing Still the Answer By Ian Austen

Article Summary: Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the leaders of its territories and provinces meet on Friday, December 9, to formulate a national carbon pricing plan. United States president-elect Donald Trump will be in attendance. Trump is certainly not going to be a president who puts the environment as his number one priority, as shown by his "skepticism about climate change, support for the fossil fuel industry and a desire to pull the United States out of the Paris climate accord," which puts Canada in an awkward position. Trudeau wants to enact this carbon policy sooner rather than later, but America seems to be heading in the opposite direction with Trump coming into office in just a few weeks. The Canadian government wants to put a price on carbon emissions as part of a plan to reduce them in every province and territory ("either through a tax on fossil fuels or a cap-and-trade system of emission allowances for industry"). Trudeau even threatened to impose a plan of his own if they refuse. Carbon-tax proponents are saying that should try to gain a "competitive advantage" on its downstairs neighbor by taking the initiative, while many of Trudeau's political rivals think it would be "irresponsible" to move ahead without the United States. Brad Wall, the premier of Saskatchewan, the only regional leader who has balked at the idea publicly, argues that carbon pricing "'is very risky for us to do, especially when our biggest trading partner is not going to do it. It does not mean that we're not concerned, or we don't want to move on climate change.'" Trudeau said in early October that, starting in 2018, the provinces would have to start charging 10 Canadian dollars per metric ton (about $6.80 a ton) as the minimum carbon price. That number would quintuple over the next five years. The good news is that several provinces are already "well down that road." British Columbia's carbon emissions tax is now about 30 Canadian dollars per metric ton, and counting; Christy Clark, the premier, says that it will be raised. In addition, "Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba have all agreed to cap-and-trade systems linked to that of California." Quebec's effective carbon price is at about 19 Canadian dollars. They hope to see the rest of the provinces follow suit.

This graph shows the effect of the reduction methods in place, and how bad emissions would be without them.

Why should we care so much about Canada's actions?

If Donald Trump had any idea of how serious climate change is or how much we are contributing to the problem by adding so much carbon to the atmosphere, it would be idiotic for him to ignore what's happening upstairs. According to Brad Wall, "'If you don't care about carbon pricing, you don't care about the earth.'" Canada is making great strides against this extremely prevalent issue in today's society, and they don't even emit as much carbon as the United States! If there's any country that needs to get a move on, it's the United States, and not only are we doing nothing about it, but we are actually going in the wrong direction.

Justin Trudeau, Canada's Prime Minister

The reason I picked this article in the first place was simple: I went on the New York Times website and immediately came across it. It covered a topic we talked extensively about in class and it pertained to something that's happening right now that could have serious global environmental implications. I had previously stood firmly against many of Donald Trump's plans and views on certain issues, and this further confirmed my stance. What he is doing is he is trying to make the United States into an economic powerhouse, and that only. He isn't taking into account one of the most important problems we face today--something that could potentially be the cause of the downfall of the human race. In fact, Trump just recently appointed Scott Pruitt, the Oklahoma attorney general, who has fought regulations aimed at combating climate change and positioned himself as an ally of the fossil fuel industry, as his Environmental Protection Agency Administrator.

I truly hope that Trump pays attention to what Canada is doing. Climate change is not something to be taken lightly, let alone ignored altogether. Canada's plan could save us a few years, but we need way more than that. If the United States joins the movement toward a carbon emissions reduction, plenty of others will do the same. I hope to see that Canada's plan will cause a ripple effect until almost all countries are combating climate change as a joint force.

Created By
Mark Adamo

Made with Adobe Slate

Make your words and images move.

Get Slate

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.