Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Is Win-Win Possible? Can Canada’s Government Achieve Its Paris Commitment . . . and Get Re-elected?

For the past 6 months, I and co-researchers Mikela Hein and Tiffany Vass have been developing our national energy-economy model (CIMS) to simulate climate policy scenarios that explore the effect of current Canadian policies, and contrast this with (1) the must-price-emissions approach that some are advocating, and (2) an alternative approach that emphasizes a significant role for flexible regulations, similar to what California is doing with regulations on electricity, vehicles, fuels, etc. Available on this link, our report is called “Is Win-Win Possible? Can Canada’s Government Achieve Its Paris Commitment . . .  and Get Re-elected?"

If policy advisors and policy makers are to learn anything from the past 30 years of ineffective climate policies, they would hopefully see that climate policy is very difficult politically and emissions pricing is especially difficult. Canada intends to achieve its Paris commitment. To do so by emphasizing emissions pricing would require a price that climbs by about $15 per year to reach $200 per tonne of CO2 by 2030. It is highly unlikely that federal or provincial politicians will pursue this approach. Fortunately, they don’t have to. As noted, California is especially relying on flexible regulations. Such an approach is likely to be less economically efficient than emissions pricing. But researchers can help policy makers by estimating the magnitude of the economic efficiency trade-off for political acceptance. Our report attempts to start that process.


  1. Dear Professor Jaccard,

    Now that the Trudeau government has announced its intent to implement a national carbon price, shouldn't this be henceworth the new status quo as opposed to a "regulation" approach? It seems to me that a precedent has been set last Monday...

  2. I don’t see it that way. Read any of my recent articles and you’ll see why. Trudeau did not say he’d achieve Paris with emissions pricing. He said it would be part of the mix - which I too have been saying all along. But I have yet to meet a politician who said they’d do it all with emissions pricing. Not Gordon Campbell. Not Arnold Schwarzenegger. Not Stephane Dion. Not Justin Trudeau

  3. Thanks for your answer Mark. I agree with you, especially in light of what Mckenna is about to unveil in the next few weeks. She already said that "non-price" mechanisms have to be part of the mitigation package.