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Canada Feds not accepting Sask. request to be excluded from carbon pricing

20:56  12 march  2018
20:56  12 march  2018 Source:   leaderpost.com

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The federal government is rejecting Saskatchewan’s request to be exempt from a carbon pricing plan. “ To be clear, we cannot accept your request not to price carbon in Saskatchewan. Leader Post. Two people killed in rollover on Trans-Canada Highway in Sask .

The federal government is rejecting Saskatchewan’s request to be exempt from a carbon pricing plan. “ To be clear, we cannot accept your request not to price carbon in Saskatchewan. Leader Post. Two people killed in rollover on Trans-Canada Highway in Sask .

030618-McKenna_Greenhouse_Gap_20180306:  © Justin Tang

The federal government is rejecting Saskatchewan’s request to be exempt from a carbon pricing plan.

“To be clear, we cannot accept your request not to price carbon in Saskatchewan. Among other reasons, it would be patently unfair for one jurisdiction to avoid participating in this important national effort to support clean growth and cut pollution,” wrote Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna in a letter to Saskatchewan’s Environment Minister Dustin Duncan.

Her correspondence is in response to a letter sent by Duncan at the end of February, in which he formally told the federal government Saskatchewan would not sign onto the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.In doing so, the province rejected $62 million in federal assistance to help aid climate change efforts.

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McKenna reasserted the long-stated position that, “we believe your government is best placed to design a carbon pricing approach that works for Saskatchewan,” and pointed out four of five Canadians are living in jurisdictions that already have a price on carbon. Full-time employment numbers dropped in Saskatchewan from February 2017 to February 2018 by one per-cent, but went up across Canada (including in B.C. and Alberta).

The federal minister said she will “remain hopeful” the province will change its course before the Sept. 1 deadline to put in place its own plan. If Saskatchewan fails to do so, the federal government has said it will put in place a carbon pricing scheme on the province.

The letter also responded to Saskatchewan’s own climate change strategy, dubbed Prairie Resilience: A Made-in-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy.  It does not include an explicit carbon tax and lowers the threshold of what is considered a “heavy emitter” from 50,000 tonnes of emissions to 25,000 tonnes, which is largely the same as a policy the province advanced seven years ago.

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" To be clear, we cannot accept your request not to price carbon in Saskatchewan," McKenna wrote. We would do so by applying the federal carbon pricing system in Saskatchewan." Sask . Environment Minister Dustin Duncan says provincial lawyers are developing a case to oppose a

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Saskatchewan’s strategy also calls for a “carbon offset” to be purchased by emitters to offset their greenhouse gas emissions, as well as a best performance credit for companies demonstrating low emissions or investments in reducing their emissions.

The initial response of the federal government was lukewarm at best — with McKenna saying in an online statement the plan doesn’t hit the standard set by the Canadian government in asking all provinces to establish a carbon pricing plan through an explicit price on emissions or a cap-and-trade system.

But in her letter, McKenna said she is, “pleased to see your recent Prairie Resilience climate strategy signal a renewed interest in pricing pollution through your commitment to adopt a carbon market system for large industrial emitters and to develop an offset system. I hope that this is a foundation we can build on.”

The provincial government continues to maintain it will not accept the federal government’s plan to impose a carbon tax on Saskatchewan and says it will advocate for Prairie Resilience to be accepted by Ottawa.

dfraser@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/dcfraser

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