The premier of Canada’s Yukon territory on Monday reaffirmed his government’s opposition to the introduction of a carbon tax to help cut GHG emissions in the country’s northern regions.
“Yukon would not support any one-size fits all approach that fails to take regional needs into account,” Darrell Pasloski said in a press release, likely referring to reports that the federal government is considering setting a national minimum carbon price.
“Canada’s northern economies are small and developing … [so] we need to cultivate and grow them so that northerners can prosper and not be burdened with additional costs and barriers to success.”
The statement comes just days after national media reported that the Canadian government wants to agree a deal with provinces to set a national carbon price floor of C$15 ($10.97/€9.87) per tonne.
According to the reports, the price would increase annually, levelling the playing field between Canada’s provinces while attempting to prevent domestic carbon leakage.
Provinces that already have CO2 pricing initiatives would have to abide by the floor, while those that don’t would either need to adopt the federal levy or impose at least an equivalent price themselves, possibly in the form of a market-based mechanism or a tax.
Pasloski said such a measure would increase the already high cost of living in Canada’s north, “where burning fuel for heat and transportation is a necessity, not a luxury.”
“We are doing our part in the North to reduce greenhouse gas emissions … 95% of Yukon’s electricity comes from renewable sources and we continue to fund retrofits to our public and private infrastructure to improve energy efficiency,” he added.
“There are many ways to reduce emissions without imposing a new tax … [and] any national strategy needs to include investment in new and existing energy technologies. It should also take into consideration the unique challenges of living in the North and the needs of Yukon’s economy.”
Pasloski said the Yukon government supports action to address climate change, and highlighted its efforts to expand the territory’s hydroelectric grid to reduce communities’ reliance on diesel, convert Yukon’s back-up power sources to LNG from diesel, and adopt a territorial biomass strategy.
He joins Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall in publicly opposing any carbon pricing measures imposed by the federal government.
Yukon is one of Canada’s three northern territories, and has a population of fewer than 40,000 people.
Yukon’s GHG emissions account for less than 1% of Canada’s overall output, according to the territory’s government.
Canada’s provincial and territorial leaders are to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in Vancouver on Mar. 3 to discuss a new national climate strategy, which Trudeau promised to overhaul following December’s Paris COP-21 talks.
By Mike Szabo – firstname.lastname@example.org