Manitoba signs federal climate-change plan

Manitoba signs federal climate-change plan
From CBC - February 23, 2018

After months of agreeing to disagree with the federal government, Manitoba has signed on to Ottawa's climate-change plan.

At least for the next two years.

The decision to sign on to thePan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change triggers approximately$67million in federal funding for the province from Ottawa's Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund. The province faced losing those funds if it did not sign the deal before Feb. 28.

Manitoba maintains its intention of setting a flat carbon emissions tax of $25 per tonne. The federal government had set a "backstop" of $10 per tonne per year, rising to $50 per tonne in five years.

Sustainable Development Minister Rochelle Squires told reporters Friday the data her government has collected suggests a flat carbon tax of $25 will meet the goals Ottawa has set on emissions.

"We have been consistent in our belief that our $25price on carbon reflects our emissions profile adequately in Manitoba and that it will reduce emissions more than the backstop," Squires said.

$50/tonne target

Despite a federal target of $50 per tonne in five years explicitly stated in the framework agreement, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says Manitoba will meet the targets for the first two years, and Ottawa will review each province's carbon price plan every year starting in 2019.

"I am comfortable because we are going to be assessing ever province's plan, and it's not just price. It's accessing the system that they come up with, and we are going to be doing that every year. But Manitoba has said they want to sign on to the plan and I think that's really important," McKenna told CBC News.

At $25 per tonne, Manitoba will exceed federal targets for the first two years. Ottawa has not signalled what specific action it might take if Manitoba is not compliant after that, but the federal government has drafted legislation for the carbon tax backstop and is conducting public consultations before introducing them in Parliament.

McKenna describedManitoba's signatureas "really, really positive," since the province andOttawa have argued over the framework and the taxfor nearly two years.

Saskatchewan holds out


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