Canadian Negotiators Pushing Emissions Trading Mechanisms at Climate Conference

By Cheadle, Bruce | The Canadian Press, November 14, 2016 | Go to article overview

Canadian Negotiators Pushing Emissions Trading Mechanisms at Climate Conference


Cheadle, Bruce, The Canadian Press


Canada pushes GHG trading at climate summit

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OTTAWA - Canada's overall greenhouse gas emissions will likely peak before 2020, says a new report, but achieving the country's 2030 targets is going to require much more work.

The independent analysis from Decarbonization Pathways Canada comes as federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna joins an international climate summit in Marrakech, Morocco, where the mechanics of last year's Paris climate accord are being negotiated.

Delegates at this year's United Nations-sponsored COP22 heard Monday that global CO2 emissions have flattened out over the past three years, even as the planet appears poised to record another heat record in 2016.

The World Meteorological Organization released preliminary data through October that showed global temperatures are 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The good-news, bad-news story applies to Canada as well, where emissions are projected to top out at about 720 million tonnes by the end of this decade. But they won't easily be clawed down to Canada's international 2030 commitment of 522 million tonnes, given the lack of further policy measures and a growing economy.

"As current policy flatlines past 2020 and GHGs rise with the economy, the NDC (target) gap widens," economists Dave Sawyer and Chris Bataille write in the policy paper commissioned by four major environmental organizations.

The escalating national floor price on carbon announced by the Trudeau government last month knocks only 18 million tonnes off Canada's 170-million tonne gap in 2030, according to their analysis.

But that gap potentially could be cut in half -- by another 68 million tonnes -- if Canada can realize emissions trading credits under the Paris Accord.

Delegates in Marrakech say Canada's negotiators over the past week have been heavily focused on Article 6 of the Paris agreement, which addresses emissions trading between countries.

Quebec and Ontario have joined a cap-and-trade market with California, and the policy paper says GHG "imports" by Canada's two largest provinces could account for 68 million tonnes of reduced emissions in Canada's ledger by 2030.

However "the modalities to allow such transfers to be fully recognized have yet to be worked out," says a footnote in the analysis -- which is what Canadian negotiators are addressing at COP22.

A spokeswoman for McKenna noted Monday from Marrakech that the minister "played a leadership role" in pushing the Article 6 chapter in Paris last December.

"Market-based solutions are certainly part of the equation to grow a cleaner global economy," McKenna said an emailed statement.

Youth delegates at Marrakech say they're concerned that Canada wants to use international credits in an effort to hit its emissions target rather than reducing greenhouse gases at home. …

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