A Green Bank of Canada, a wide-ranging “tax code retrofit”, an accelerated coal phase-out, and a suite of energy efficiency and renewable energy measures for buildings are key elements of a strategy to help Canada’s new government steer the country toward a low-carbon future, the Broadbent Institute and the Mowat Centre recommended in a report release last night in Ottawa.
The other three items in Step Change: Federal Policy Ideas Toward a Low-Carbon Canada are a mandate for federal facilities and institutions to lead by example on heat and power, transportation, and institutional investing, a clean transportation strategy, and a “bio strategy” to promote best practices in agriculture and forestry.
“A price on carbon is a necessary first step, but it can’t do the job alone,” the report states. “Beyond carbon pricing, the federal government has access to a wide range of tools to help drive GHG emission reductions, from the electricity sector to the tax code.”
The report adds that “going beyond carbon pricing is key to the economic transformation opportunity available to Canada,” and “here the public sector has a critical role to play. Targeted incentives and investments outlined in the Green Bank and Tax Code Retrofit proposals would open opportunities to export solutions, and drive stronger economic growth over the long term.”
Although the report contains solid detail on each element, Broadbent and Mowat stress that “considerable work” is still needed to refine the seven-point plan. “There are design details to be resolved both within and between the seven policy areas,” but the two organizations point to the need for a “governing agenda” for Canada’s response to climate change in the lead-up to the UN summit in Paris.
“It is a conversation that has been largely dormant in Ottawa, and we look forward to the new federal government engaging with Canadians to explore the new opportunities that are available to us.”