Toronto, Ont. – Today, the Clean Economy Alliance (CEA) released two reports about the impacts of cap-and-trade and Ontario’s climate plan on the province’s economy and efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. One report finds that after a year of carbon pricing, there is no evidence that it has hurt Ontario’s economy, and there are some early indications that the policies are reducing carbon emissions. A second report models the impacts of cap-and-trade versus a carbon tax in 2020, and finds that while both pricing methods are effective, sticking with cap-and-trade is better for Ontario both economically and environmentally.
A Progress Report on Ontario’s Cap-and-Trade Program and Climate Change Action Plan: Year One looks at Ontario’s economic and environmental performance since the launch of cap-and-trade in January 2017. The report analyzes key indicators like GDP, employment rates, gasoline and natural gas sales, and progress on key items in the Climate Change Action Plan.
“It’s been over a year since we put a price on carbon in Ontario and rolled out a series of new programs in Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan. We want to know if these policies are having an impact on the province’s economy and environment,” says Keith Brooks, Programs Director at Environmental Defence. “And the findings are clear: carbon pricing doesn’t knee-cap the economy. 2017, the first year of cap-and-trade, marked a seven-year high in GDP growth, and was a year when Ontario added over 150,000 jobs. But carbon pricing alone is not a sufficient panacea when it comes to fighting climate change. Gasoline sales at the end of 2017 were higher than ever, but Ontario climate policies are beginning to have effect. Industrial natural gas use is down, while electric vehicle sales are up nearly 120 per cent. That’s why the complementary programs in the Climate Change Action Plan are necessary.”
In No Bad Option: Comparing the Economic Impact of Ontario Carbon Pricing Scenarios, the CEA teamed up with economists at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives to model the impact of two potential carbon pricing scenarios in Ontario: a revenue-neutral carbon tax meeting the requirements imposed by the federal government, or Ontario’s current a cap-and-trade system with revenues recycled into climate-related programs.
“Both carbon pricing options reduce carbon emissions with no measurable impact to Ontario’s economy,” says Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood, a climate policy researcher with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. “The cap-and-trade approach leads to greater reductions in greenhouse gas emissions overall, largely because it is accompanied by investments in environmental programs. For any form of carbon pricing to work, emissions must be priced high enough to drive systemic changes and the price must be supported by strong complementary climate policies.”
About The CLEAN ECONOMY ALLIANCE (CEA): The CEA is a group of over 100 organizations representing a broad cross-section of Ontarians that united in 2015 to urge Ontario to show leadership in addressing the crucial issue of climate change. The CEA includes prominent Ontario businesses, industry associations, labour unions, farmers’ groups, health advocates, and environmental organizations. For a full list of Clean Economy Alliance members, please visit www.cleaneconomyalliance.ca.
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