The most powerful sub-national leader in the world says he, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne, and Quebec’s Philippe Couillard are “insurgent forces” in the global fight to curb climate change.
California Governor Jerry Brown — whose state has the world’s sixth-largest economy, larger than that of Canada, France or India — said it does not matter what President Donald Trump or the U.S. Congress does to try to derail efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
“Whatever anyone else does and whatever Mr. Trump does in Washington, China is on the move with a carbon market,” Brown said in Quebec City as California, Quebec, and Ontario signed an agreement to formally link their carbon markets.
“There’s a lot of money on the other side and that’s the status quo. We’re the insurgent forces transforming. That’s where it’s at. In our systems, the sub-national jurisdictions have a power,” he said, noting states and provinces can oversee clean-air standards, building codes, and promote electric vehicles.
As of Jan. 1, Ontario’s emissions cap programs will be integrated with Quebec and California, allowing the three jurisdictions to hold joint carbon auctions and harmonize regulations.
“This is the next step in a long and difficult journey to de-carbonize the economies of the world. We’re de-carbonizing our own economies but then setting in motion the example that will be picked up by other provinces, other states, and other regions around the world,” the governor said.
Wynne noted that while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government is supportive of the current initiative, former prime minister Stephen Harper was not.
“Remember when I and Premier Couillard moved on this and made these decisions, we were living in a country that had a federal government that was not interested in working with us,” the premier said.
“That’s the importance of the sub-nationals.”
The Ontario-Quebec-California cap-and-trade alliance puts a price on carbon.
Under the system, businesses have greenhouse gas emission limits — or caps — and those who pollute less can sell or trade credits.
This should create an economic incentive to reduce emissions and, in time, an industry’s overall cap will be lowered in order to cut pollution.
“It’s very important to have this mechanism — a market-based approach — to reducing carbon. It’s efficient, it’s elegant, and it works,” said Brown.
Couillard said the agreement will have benefits far beyond the borders of his province because it should lead to “the development of more efficient carbon reduction technologies.”
Source: Toronto Star