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Dion releases environment strategy – demands hard emission caps on top polluters

Perhaps someone in the Liberal communications office is listening to the complaints out there about the Liberals needing to be less vague on issues and to release specific policies on what they would do if elected to lead the country. Law and order was a couple of days ago, and today Dion has released part of what his environmental policy would be – hard caps on the top polluters, and investment into green technologies:

The Liberal “Balancing our Carbon Budget” plan would work in the following way:

– A ‘hard cap’ on GHG emissions would come into effect on January 1, 2008 for the three largest industrial emitting sectors – electricity generation, upstream oil and gas and energy intensive industries.

– The cap would be set at the Kyoto standard of 1990 emissions level less six per cent and establish an effective ‘carbon budget’ that companies within these sectors would be expected to meet.

– Those companies that don’t meet their carbon budget would be required to deposit $20 (growing to $30 by 2011) per excess tonne of C02 equivalent into a Green Investment Account (GIA).

– Companies could freely access the funds in the GIA to invest in green projects and initiatives at a rate of $10 per tonne every year that would contribute to tangible reductions in GHG emissions.

GIA funds will be held in trust by an independent operating agency governed with participation from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors.

– Any funds that are not allocated to a project within two years of their deposit would be administered by an independent operating agency to be invested in other green projects and initiatives. At least 80 per cent of the funds would be invested in the province where the facility of the depositing firm is located and all GIA’s would be transparently and publicly reported.

– Companies who surpass the reductions called for in their ‘carbon budget’ would be able to trade their unused allotments to other Canadians firms. Large industrial emitters would also be able to buy international emission credits certified under the Kyoto Protocol to offset up to 25 per cent of the amount they are required to deposit into GIA’s for failing to meet their carbon budget.

Again, this puts out there for people to see specific measures as to what the Liberals and Dion have in mind on the Environmental file, rather then just mouthing vague platitudes about supporting Kyoto, and it can be used as a real comparison to the Conservatives plans. So, I again applaud the Liberals for getting more policy-specific on this front – especially this front. I am particularly pleased to see that hard caps are going to be demanded, not the sham known as intensity targets.


2 comments to Dion releases environment strategy – demands hard emission caps on top polluters

  • knb

    “Look at me, look at me!”, “I said it first!”. Jumping Jack Layton may indeed have proposed a similar scheme first, but it didn’t go anywhere. Has he proposed it to the con’s, is it included as an amendment to the Clean Air Act, have the con’s said they’ll accept it?

    Look, we all know that Layton knows what he is talking about on the environment and he has nothing to prove there. If he starts running around saying, “We said it first”, which apparently he is planning on doing if Comartin is any example, he’ll look foolish.

    I don’t know if Dion rejected it out of hand, but if he did, I’d like to hear why. Could it be that at the time he felt it wasn’t yet necessary and there were other ways to go? To me this plan sounds exactly like what he said he was going to do, that is, collaborate with other leadership candidates to take all the best ideas to develop something solid.

    Scott, I’m not sure if they’ve been listening. I think we tend, (meaning me), to be a bit impatient. I think they have taken the time to put together good policy in all areas, thus the crime announcement and now this. I’m glad they have done this, though there is no question that Harper and gang have taken advantage of the lull.

  • janfromthebruce

    I’m sure glad that the Dion Liberals have finally bought into the idea of cap and trade plan.
    As Jack Layton said, and excerpted from the Toronto Star on Mar. 14th in the letter section, after the glowing editorial of Dion’s wonderful new enlightenment,
    “far from being Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion’s plan, cap and trade was rejected by him. He was presented with the proposal by many, including me, at a meeting when he was environment minister. He said no. The New Democratic Party proposed this system in the 2004 and 2006 elections. Our plan would have created a Green Fund to invest in greenhouse gas reduction projects.

    Rather than labelling cap and trade “Dion’s plan,” you should be asking what took him so long. Months ago, I called for the creation of the all-party committee to rewrite the so-called Clean Air Act, with the goal being to summon the best ideas in Parliament and put them together in a climate-change strategy.

    Cap and trade should be part of that discussion. I welcome Dion in joining it.

    Jack Layton, Leader of the Federal NDP, Ottawa”

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