Climate change is one of the defining challenges facing Canada and the world. Successive Conservative and Liberal governments have failed to take action serious enough to meet our international obligations and our duty to the planet. After ten years of inaction from Stephen Harper’s government, Justin Trudeau’s Liberals have brought in a half-hearted plan that even a report their government commissioned says won’t allow us to meet our Paris obligations.
We need action and accountability. We need to be much more ambitious about emissions reductions than we currently are, and identify methods of reducing our emissions that will not jeopardize our economic competitiveness. But we can’t do that without being clear about what our targets are and creating built-in accountability. When each province and territory has different short- and long-term reduction targets compared to different base years, it is almost impossible for Canadians to hold them and the federal government accountable for their actions.
What Charlie will do
As Prime Minister, Charlie will create a national carbon budget.
A carbon budget is a legislated cap on national emissions over a rolling five-year period based on meeting our long-term commitments, with a more transparent framework for Canadians to track our progress on our commitments and to coordinate our response across jurisdictions and economic sectors.
In order to meet these legal limits, Charlie’s plan will also create a National Carbon Budget Council.
This Council would be responsible for advising governments on setting carbon budgets and developing implementation plans to meet their commitments, considering a mix of investment, regulation and pricing tools. It would be made up of climate scientists, environmental economists and various stakeholders, including Indigenous leaders. Finally, it would also be responsible for auditing the progress governments make on their commitments, and suggesting areas or specific interventions to further reduce emissions if necessary.
Charlie would create a new Crown corporation to help drive sustainable development.
This Crown corporation would help fund public projects such as energy infrastructure, public transit, or municipal redesigns proven to reduce emissions, or those offering promising new approaches to emissions reduction. This would replace the Liberal infrastructure bank, and shift priorities in federal infrastructure spending from guaranteeing private profits to ensuring long-term prosperity and sustainability.
Charlie would eliminate subsidies directed at the oil and gas sector.
Instead, the government will provide incentives for companies to meet their emission targets and find ways to dramatically reduce the carbon cost of extractive projects.
A response to climate change that is effective and good for the economy is possible, and a carbon budget will give us the clear, accountable framework we need to move forward.