November 18, 2018

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Federal carbon plan seen by think tank as more effective than Manitoba's

The Brandon Sun files</p>

The Brandon Sun files

An analysis of the province's Made in Manitoba Climate and Green Plan disputes a key claim that the plan will out-perform a federal backstop proposal over the initial four-year period.

Manitoba will impose a flat $25-a-tonne carbon tax late this fall covering the period from 2018 to 2022, while Ottawa proposes a phased in carbon price of $10 to $50 per tonne.

According to a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, cumulative reductions in emissions will be slightly greater under the Manitoba carbon price, but actual emissions are to be 76 kilotonnes lower by 2022 under the federal plan.

The CCPA analysis was based on data from two modelling studies commissioned by the province and obtained through freedom of information legislation.

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An analysis of the province's Made in Manitoba Climate and Green Plan disputes a key claim that the plan will out-perform a federal backstop proposal over the initial four-year period.

Manitoba will impose a flat $25-a-tonne carbon tax late this fall covering the period from 2018 to 2022, while Ottawa proposes a phased in carbon price of $10 to $50 per tonne.

According to a report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, cumulative reductions in emissions will be slightly greater under the Manitoba carbon price, but actual emissions are to be 76 kilotonnes lower by 2022 under the federal plan.

The CCPA analysis was based on data from two modelling studies commissioned by the province and obtained through freedom of information legislation.

The CCPA report further states that a comparison of greenhouse gas (GHG) emission trends to 2030 shows that cumulative reductions will be greater under the federal plan than under the Manitoba one. Furthermore, actual emissions will be lower under Ottawa's model.

"As such, Manitoba may well be subject to the federal carbon pricing backstop of $50 per tonne by 2022," the CCPA said.

The CCPA report, prepared by Harvey Stevens, a retired senior provincial government policy analyst and a founding member of the Manitoba Carbon Pricing Coalition, said the province's green plan falls substantially short of achieving the GHG reductions required to meet Canada's commitment made at the Paris Climate Change Summit in 2015.

Stevens' analysis of the province's green plan finds that even under its most aggressive GHG reduction scenario, emissions would be 1,400 kilotonnes higher than the target of 14,158kt by 2030.

Stevens found that keeping the carbon price constant at $50 per tonne after 2022 would result in GHG emissions rising and that the price of carbon would have to increase by an average of $6.78 per tonne per year to prevent an increase in emissions.

To meet Canada's 2030 emissions targets, Stevens calls for aggressive measures such as the electrification of transportation and public transportation, decreasing the use of inorganic fertilizer and less intensive livestock production, among other measures.

Stevens said Manitoba's green plan also fails to recognize that proposed government actions to grow the economy will result in increased emissions.

In a statement reacting to the CCPA report, the Pallister government said that rather than sending $1 billion in carbon taxes to Ottawa over the next four years, all taxes collected under its homemade plan would be returned to Manitobans over the same timeframe.

"It is better to keep this money in Manitoba than to lose it in a courtroom," the statement said. "Manitoba’s plan is based on achieving larger emission reductions than the federal plan. Manitoba’s flat $25-per-tonne economy-wide carbon tax and output-based pricing system for large industrial emitters is projected to reduce emissions by 80,000 tonnes more than the federal plan that starts at $10/tonne and climbs to $50/tonne by 2022."

The government also said that an escalating carbon price, as proposed by "left-wing think tanks like the CCPA," will hurt Manitobans.

larry.kusch@freepress.mb.ca

Larry Kusch

Larry Kusch
Legislature Reporter

Larry Kusch didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life until he attended a high school newspaper editor’s workshop in Regina in the summer of 1969 and listened to a university student speak glowingly about the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa.

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