Planned carbon tax increases in Canada would pose an ‘implementation risk’

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Canada’s carbon tax alone on natural gas would almost triple the current Alberta market price of the product starting in 2030 if the Liberal-led federal government that was re-elected on September 30 enforces its announced schedule of increases annuals.

The tax would rise to around CA $ 9.00, or $ 7.20 / MMBtu, according to Greg Caldwell, director of energy systems innovation at Atco Gas. He made this screening at an industry conference in Calgary on adapting to global and national energy transition policies.

The increase in consumer levies results from federal climate change policy that the Supreme Court of Canada upheld in March with a verdict that dismissed challenges to provincial rights by the governments of Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan.

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The policy calls for carbon price increases, with the goal of reducing emissions, to C $ 170 / tonne ($ 136) from the current C $ 40 ($ 32) or 5.9 cents C / cubic meter of gas natural ($ 1.32) by 2030.

Consumer price risk in Canada has supply-side counterparts that the conference held by Natural Gas World identified in a review of national and international trends in climate change and decarbonization policy.

The “implementation risk” is abundant, said Canadian entrepreneur Mac Van Wielingen, who chairs the Alberta Investment Management Co. (AIMCo) and is a member of Premier Jason Kenney’s economic advisory board.

In multiple meetings with energy transition advocates, “I was quite shocked at the lack of discussions on the economy,” Van Wielingen said. “The economy is relevant for all stakeholders. ”

Policy advocates need to understand that their ideas affect energy costs, reliability of supply, market predictability, returns on investment and employment, he noted.

“Too much reliance on weak or even disintegrating multilateralism” hurts policy planning, he said. He pointed to rivalries between the hoarding of Covid-19 vaccines and trade wars with China as symptoms of erosion weakening the international cooperation needed to reduce greenhouse gases.

National debts and unstable governments are hampering a seven-fold increase in clean energy investments that the International Energy Agency estimates developing countries need to reduce their two-thirds share of global greenhouse gas emissions greenhouse, said Van Wielingen.

The uncertain sustainability of policies, the focus on unreliable alternative energy supplies, narrow political and environmental agendas by groups and the reliance on unproven or even unknown technologies darken the energy transition scene, he added.

Van Wielingen urged financial markets and government authorities to add a second letter E, for economics, to the emerging formula of environment, society and governance to judge investments by the standards of policy on climate change.


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