Ontario, Quebec reveal cap and trade plan to battle climate change

Involves government-imposed limits on emissions from companies; those that want to burn more fossil fuels can buy carbon credits.

TORONTO — Premier Kathleen Wynne says Ontario will take “an enormous step” to adopt a so-called cap-and-trade plan to curb greenhouse gas emissions and help battle climate change.

Wynne says right now companies are allowed to spew pollutants into the atmosphere for free, but everyone is paying the costs, and she dismisses claims cap-and-trade amounts to a tax grab.

The plan involves government-imposed limits on emissions from companies, and those that want to burn more fossil fuels can buy carbon credits from those that burn less than they are allowed.

Wynne says climate change is already imposing costs on society, damaging crops and increasing insurance claims, and warns the costs of not taking action will only get higher.

And she says cap-and-trade is a market solution, not a regulatory one, and will provide certainty for industry.

A background paper provided by the government says gasoline prices rose two-to-3.5 cents a litre in Quebec when it adopted a cap and trade system.

Environment Minister Glen Murray says the government will consult the public as it develops the details for the cap-and-trade scheme by October.

She says money raised by the cap and trade scheme will go into growing the economy and fighting emissions, such as funding more public transit projects.

© 2015 The Canadian Press

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