Ontario plans to tax carbon emissions

| 5/29/2009

The Ontario provincial government wants to implement a cap-and-trade system to tax carbon emissions as early as 2012.

Many people are still wondering what cap and trade is, but a total of four provinces and seven western U.S. states are part of the Western Climate Initiative pushing to get carbon taxes in place under a harmonized system.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty announced the filing of legislation Wednesday, May 27, by the provincial Ministry of Environment.

The intent of cap and trade is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by targeting polluters and rewarding non-polluters through a system of taxes and credits.

“In a cap-and-trade system, government gives corporations ‘allowances,’ which limit the amount of greenhouse gases they can emit,” Ontario Ministry officials stated. “Companies that reduce their emissions below their limit have ‘surplus’ allowances they can sell or bank for future use.”

The Ontario legislation would amend the provinces Environmental Protection Act to establish the cap-and-trade system, set the rates, and write the regulations.

So far, the legislation affects companies and corporations, with no clear view of whether cap and trade would affect trucking or mobile sources of greenhouse gases. Nonetheless, cap and trade could affect the price of equipment when costs to companies are passed on to the consumer.

The filing of legislation on May 27 triggered a 60-day public comment period that ends July 26.

Click here to read more about the Ontario initiative. Click here and enter the registry number 010-6467 to view the bill language. The link includes an online public comment form.

Comments are also being accepted at the following address:

Steve Borg, Project Manager
Ministry of the Environment
Integrated Environmental Policy Division
Air Policy Instruments and Programs Design Branch
135 St. Clair Ave. West, Floor 4
Toronto Ontario
M4V 1P5
Phone: (416) 314-4923

Click here to learn more about the Western Climate Initiative.

– By David Tanner, staff writer