Don’t give big polluters a free ride

(Queen’s Park): “Don’t give big polluters a free ride,” says GPO leader Mike Schreiner. He is calling on the Liberals to rethink their cap and trade plan.
For Ontario to achieve the reductions in carbon pollution that we need to meet our climate obligations, the province should: a) change course to go with the most effective and fair plan to reduce pollution–carbon fee and dividend; or b) strictly limit free pollution permits in a cap and trade system.
Under the Liberal’s proposed cap and trade program, large industrial emitters will be given free pollution permits. Meanwhile, fuel wholesalers will pay a minimum carbon price starting in 2017, which will affect the price of gasoline and natural gas for home heating.  
“The Liberals are sending the wrong message by giving big polluters a free ride,” says Schreiner. “People want to take action on the climate crisis, but they want carbon pricing to be fair and effective.”
Leading economists at Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission have produced a report showing that industry concerns about competitive disadvantages from carbon pricing are overblown. The Ecofiscal Commission found that “only 2% of Ontario’s economy is both carbon intensive and trade exposed.”
“There is no economic justification to give so many industrial polluters a free ride,” says Schreiner. “Are the free pollution permits a Liberal response to industry lobbyists coming to the Minister with cap in hand looking for a special deal?” asks Schreiner.
The GPO continues to support a carbon fee and dividend policy due to concerns that free pollution permits will undermine the effectiveness of cap and trade. To be effective cap and trade must limit the allocation of free pollution permits and industry exemptions. 
“We are paying the price for climate change now,” says Schreiner. “We can’t afford for the Liberals to say they are taking action on climate and then undermine those efforts by giving in to corporate lobbyists.”
The GPO is on a mission to bring honesty, integrity and good public policy to Queen’s Park.