What is carbon pricing?
Carbon pricing charges those whose activities emit carbon dioxide (CO2) for their emissions.
That charge, called a carbon price, is the amount that must be paid for the right to emit one tonne of CO2 into the atmosphere.
Carbon pricing is often charged per litre of gasoline or diesel tax at the pump.
Carbon pricing solves the economic problem of CO2, a known greenhouse gas, that economics calls a negative externality — a detrimental product that is not priced (or charged for) by any market but that has a societal or environmental cost.
Carbon pricing is one tool in the fight against climate change, and revenue from placing a price on carbon – and making polluters pay – is a massive opportunity that can stimulate growth of the green economy.
In Manitoba, the Provincial Government indicates that revenues in the first full year alone could total $100 million (at $10/tonne in 2018), rising to half a billion dollars in dedicated environmental spending every year (at $50/tonne in 2022) – and as much as $1.5 billion in total over the next 5 years.
Why do we need carbon pricing?
To be be blunt, climate change is real, and we need to act now.
To forestall the worst ravages of an upended climatic system, the overarching goal of Manitoba’s climate and carbon pricing plan should be to trigger and support the administration of a managed decline and elimination of fossil fuel production and consumption by 2050 at the absolute latest.
How would carbon pricing help fight climate change?
Putting a visible price on carbon will help put our province on a path to reducing our carbon footprint and transitioning to a renewable energy economy with support for:
Increased technological innovation by local businesses, social enterprises, family farms and community food initiatives;
Construction of low-impact renewable energy projects such as wind, solar, geothermal and battery storage; and
Investments in electric vehicle charging stations, public transit and active transportation/cycling infrastructure.
In an effort to learn more about the provincial parties' positions on climate, environment, and the Energy East pipeline, the MEJC sent a list of questions to each party. We asked for simple yes or no answers to our very clear, unequivocal questions. Most parties included some commentary along with their answers, while some avoided taking an accountable position by responding with qualifications and conditions. One party (Brian Pallister's Progressive Conservatives) refused to participate at all despite numerous requests by email, telephone, and in person. We have included here our final report card as well as each party's complete response, together with a brief response from MEJC.
To view the full report card, please click this link: MEJC report card all v2
Today the Manitoba Energy justice Coalition released a report detailing the legal and political options the Government of Manitoba and the City of Winnipeg have to protect citizens from the risks of the Energy East pipeline proposal.
This report explores additional regulatory and public intervention options, external to the National Energy Board review, that are available at the subnational level for assessing the Energy East pipeline project. The report is especially concerned with climate and environmental impact, and the threat to the Winnipeg aqueduct. Based on the research in this report, MEJC recommends:
- Move the pipeline away from the Winnipeg aqueduct, other drinking water sources, and natural gas lines
- Request the PUB to open an investigation into the safety of the Winnipeg aqueduct
- Request the Clean Environment Commission under its own authority to initiate an investigation into the implications of Energy East
- Carry out public education through the media of hearings (during the CEC and PUB assessments), open houses, pamphlets and flyers at political offices, and press statements.