Premiers ready to work with Trudeau on climate, but wary of carbon tax – by Ian Bailey and Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – March 4, 2016)

VANCOUVER — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau won agreement from the premiers on a broad strategy to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and build Canada’s clean economy, but could not gather enough support for a national minimum carbon price.

In a first ministers’ summit on Thursday, the Prime Minister and premiers agreed that additional action is needed to meet and exceed Canada’s international commitment to reduce GHGs by 30 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030.

The Vancouver summit fulfilled a Liberal election promise to hold a first ministers’ meeting on global warming within 90 days of the Paris climate conference, in which 196 countries concluded an agreement aimed at holding global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels to avert the worst impacts of climate change.

But Mr. Trudeau was unable to win support for another of his election pledges: to establish a minimum carbon price that would apply across the country but allow provinces to choose the approach and collect the revenue. Leaders endorsed the need for some form of carbon pricing on Thursday – but there was no consensus on what approach to use, or whether there should be a national floor price.

The Prime Minister and premiers had a frosty opening to the meeting, sources said Thursday, with provinces and territories concerned the federal government was determined to impose its carbon-price plan on them. Instead, they found compromise language – endorsing the need for “carbon pricing mechanisms adapted to each province’s and territory’s specific circumstances” – and agreed to work out details over the next six months.

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