Liberals will need a stiff spine to make cap and trade work

 (Toronto): GPO leader Mike Schreiner is calling on the Liberal government to avoid creating special exemptions and issuing free pollution permits in the province’s new cap and trade system.
“Pollution pricing is the best tool to tackle the climate crisis and to foster a prosperous clean economy,” says Schreiner. “For cap and trade to work the Liberals cannot give special industry exemptions and free permits to their friends.”
It is good news for Ontario’s environment and economy that after years of dragging its feet the province is finally putting a price on carbon pollution. Even though the GPO supports a simpler, more effective carbon fee and dividend policy, Schreiner pledges to work with the government to design the most effective cap and trade system possible.
“The climate crisis is the biggest threat we face,” says Schreiner. “I’m going to do everything I can to push against the Liberal’s temptation to exempt industries from the pollution cap. Exemptions undermine our climate obligations and create unnecessary economic distortions.”
Industry exemptions and free permits have weakened the effectiveness of the European Union and California / Quebec cap and trade systems. Quebec’s system, for example, provides free emission credits to the province’s aluminum plants and two oil refineries.
“We can’t let the Liberals turn cap and trade into cap in hand,” says Schreiner. “The GPO is eager to work with the government to design an effective pollution pricing system, even though they rejected our advice to support an effective, simple and fair carbon fee and dividend.”
“With the Harper government actively putting Canada’s economy and environment at risk by undermining efforts to address the climate crisis, I’m pleased that the provinces are taking action,” says Schreiner.