New series: The evolution of carbon pricing in the provinces

New series: The evolution of carbon pricing in the provinces

Policy Options, the digital magazine of the Montreal-based Institute for Research on Public Policy, recently published a series of articles and a podcast on how carbon pricing has evolved at the federal and provincial/territorial level in Canada. The local economic and political context is examined in each of the pieces. What’s clear is that there is not one common story around carbon pricing in Canada. Depending on the provincial government, it has been embraced, partially implemented, rejected, or even unceremoniously dumped, prompting the federal government to step in. The series is a valuable resource for understanding why the pan-Canadian consensus on carbon pricing sought by the current federal government is so elusive.

The series was inspired by an event held in June 2019 at the annual Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, and organized by University of British Columbia political science professor Kathryn Harrison. Some of the authors were drawn from the event. All are keen observers of the politics of carbon pricing and include experts who have been involved at the governmental level in the drafting of climate policy. Harrison says, “Climate action is politically challenging for Canada given vast differences in carbon intensity of the economies of different regions. Those differences are evident in provincial governments’ position on carbon pricing, but the Canadian case also underscores the value of subnational leadership and the critical role of the national government in establishing a common baseline”.

The articles include:

The fleeting Canadian harmony on carbon pricing

New Brunswick’s timid foray into carbon pricing

Ontario’s carbon price experience is a cautionary tale

Lessons from British Columbia’s carbon tax

Saskatchewan’s long history of rejecting carbon pricing

How the commuter vs. polluter narrative could backfire on Alberta

Carbon pricing across Canada

Most Canadians don’t want a province-first approach to climate change

Quebec’s political consensus over carbon price system

Manitoba’s fickle relationship with carbon pricing

Northern priorities and carbon pricing