Green Party Platform Has Some Important Ideas, and Significant Challenges

Clean Prosperity Executive Director Michael Bernstein made the following statement.

“The Green Party of Canada’s newly-released climate platform contains some important ideas that can help advance the climate policy conversation, though there are other planks that are either unfeasible or potentially harmful to the economy,” Clean Prosperity Executive Director Michael Bernstein said today.

“The Green Party has set an incredibly ambitious target: a 60% cut in Canada’s emissions by 2030, which will be very hard to achieve in just eight years. To their credit, though, the Greens are proposing a very stringent increase in the federal carbon price of $25 per year, reaching $240 per tonne by 2030.”

“Carbon pricing needs to be at the heart of any climate plan and I’m pleased to see the Greens using this policy as a central plank of their climate platform. At a price of $240, many low-carbon technologies become economic, including all forms of industrial point-source carbon capture. A carbon price of $240 per tonne could also incentivize the deployment of direct air capture technology, whose costs I expect will fall to that level by 2030.”

“The Greens’ proposal of a cumulative carbon budget is a critically important policy that no other party is yet discussing. Ultimately what matters most in addressing climate change is the total amount of emissions we put into the atmosphere, and the Greens are right to suggest that Canada should determine its fair share of the global carbon budget. Under any reasonable carbon budget, Canada will need to draw massive amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere, so it is encouraging to see the Green Party talk about Canada going net-negative by 2050, not just net-zero.”

“The Greens’ proposal of a cumulative carbon budget is a critically important policy that no other party is yet discussing. Ultimately what matters most in addressing climate change is the total amount of emissions we put into the atmosphere, and the Greens are right to suggest that Canada should determine its fair share of the global carbon budget.”

Clean Prosperity Executive Director Michael Bernstein

“The Greens, like all of the other major political parties, also highlight the importance of border carbon adjustments to help keep Canadian industry on a level playing field with international competitors during the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

“However, there are some areas where the Green policy will create feasibility and/or economic challenges. For example, their energy policy bans new nuclear power projects, when I believe we need to keep all decarbonization options on the table, especially if we are to scale up net negative emissions in a major way, as the energy requirements will be massive.”

“The Greens’ proposal to rapidly scale down the Canadian oil industry could also create significant economic strains in parts of the country, and is not conditional on reductions in demand. Their platform is also silent on industrial carbon capture and storage, which could help reduce emissions from the oil sector while maintaining some production as long as oil is still in demand.”

“The Green Party platform is wide-ranging but noticeably short on details. I’d like to see the Greens release independent modelling of their platform so that the public can better understand whether their policies can achieve the emissions-reduction target they’ve set, and what the economic implications would be. It would also be helpful for the Greens to calculate the total spending contained in their platform.”

Clean Prosperity is a nonpartisan, independent nonprofit that advocates for effective climate policy. We do not support or oppose any political party.

Photo credit: Annamie Paul

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