Articles related to carbon pricing.

CIAC appears before Senate Committee studying Bill C-74 to discuss carbon-pricing legislation

Isabelle Des Chênes, CIAC Executive Vice-President, and Shannon Watt, Director of Environment and Health Policy, appeared before the Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources on May 3, 2018. Senators are conducting a pre-study of the provisions of Bill C-74, the budget implementation bill, that deal with the government’s plan to price greenhouse gas emissions.

CIAC and its members support efforts to reduce global carbon emissions and have worked collaboratively with both provincial and federal officials to ensure that carbon policies and pricing mechanisms improve environmental performance, avoid double-regulation and maintain Canada’s competitiveness.

Ms. Des Chênes noted that “Canada should support a carbon policy that recognizes emission-intensive, trade-exposed sectors and encourages investments in the Canadian chemistry sector. Additionally, given the incredible investments in innovations and technologies to improve performance around air emissions and climate change, Canada’s proposed output-based allocation process should focus on benchmarking Canadian chemistry operations and performance against global competitors.”

Additionally, Ms. Watt reinforced the point that government needs to provide a comprehensive analysis of the cumulative impacts of the suite of climate change policies including the proposed Clean Fuel Standard.

Watch the CPAC recording: Fuel Suppliers Discuss the Carbon Tax

Senate report looks at how chemistry sector can reduce carbon emissions

CIAC President and CEO Bob Masterson underscored the chemistry sector’s crucial role to achieving Canada’s emission reduction challenge when he appeared before the Standing Senate Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources in February 2017.

The resulting recommendations were published earlier this month in a report called Decarbonizing Heavy Industry: The Low-Carbon Transition of Canada’s Emission-Intensive and Trade-Exposed Industries.

“We have among the highest and richest reserves of natural gas and natural gas liquids that allow for chemical production from methane, ethane and propane, which have the lowest greenhouse gas potential of all the remaining chemical feedstocks,” Mr. Masterson told the Committee.

However, he raised concerns that the uncertainty over carbon pricing after 2020 created a poor environment to attract investment.

“When we can’t tell people what the regulatory and pricing environment looks like after three years from today, in 2020, they’re going to be very hesitant to put their money into Canada,” he said.

Read the full report here.

Ottawa should leave the carbon-pricing regulations to the provinces, says CIAC

Ottawa to levy tax against polluting industries in non-compliant provinces under planned carbon-pricing regime

In response to the Liberal government tabling the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, Bob Masterson, President and CEO of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada (CIAC), told the Globe and Mail in an article published March 28 that Ottawa should let the provinces pursue their own approaches to carbon-pricing regulations.

As part of the 2018 omnibus budget bill, Ottawa is targeting industries in provinces that fail to adhere to federal standards for carbon pricing (New Brunswick and Saskatchewan) by forcing those emitters to reduce their greenhouse gases by 30 per cent or pay tax on emissions above that threshold. In January 2019, Ottawa will introduce the tax at $20 a tonne, and will reach $50 in 2022.

“We believe the federal carbon pricing backstop is important enough business of government that it should be debated on its own merits and not part of an omnibus budget bill,” Mr. Masterson told the Globe and Mail.

Although currently all petrochemical operations are in provinces that have their own carbon-pricing plans, the worry more broadly is if the standard is applied across the board, the carbon levy would render many of Canada’s refineries uncompetitive compared with U.S. and other foreign competitors.

“The chemistry sector is closely monitoring the federal plan and is committed to helping meet Canada’s and the world’s clean energy challenge,” Mr. Masterson told the Globe and Mail. “Investment is the key to Canada’s transition to a low carbon future and we need to ensure that our chemistry industry remains competitive to thrive and achieve those goals.”

Read the full Globe and Mail article (subscription required) Ottawa to levy tax against polluting industries in non-compliant provinces under planned carbon-pricing regime

Masterson at CERI Petrochemical Conference: “Canada’s federal and provincial governments need to row in the same direction.”

On June 6, Bob Masterson, CIAC president and CEO, gave the keynote address at the CERI Petrochemical Conference in Kananaskis, Alberta: “Rowing in the Same Direction – What’s Needed to Realize Petrochemical Investment in Canada.” He addressed concerns related to the changing nature of Canada-U.S. relations and the potential impact on Canadian industry. He also highlighted how industry and government can – and need – to work together for Canada to keep its place in the global economy. 

“The lack of new investment at a time of re-investment in the U.S., combined with policy choices in central Canadian provinces that have left investors and operators scratching their heads, makes for a highly uncertain future for Canada’s chemistry sector,” Masterson said. “If we are to succeed and float a credible plan, it is going to take unprecedented coordination between business and government, and between governments at all levels.”

At the conference, Dylan Jones, Deputy Minister, Western Economic Diversification Canada – who reports to Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Minister Navdeep Bains – suggested CIAC’s Ottawa advocacy campaign had caught the attention of government decision makers. The government is beginning to change how it views the chemistry sector and is willing to support the industry in the future because of CIAC’s advocacy efforts.

Key messages from the Deputy Minister included:

  • Chemistry is far from the only sector seeking subsidies or investment assistance, but providing that assistance is a role of government; 

  • Government needs sound data to make good decisions and industry and government need to work together on the interpretation of data; and, 
  • The government makes investments, sector comparisons and policy decisions on which sectors to fund/not fund.  

Masterson’s full speech is available here, and his presentation slides are available here.