Carbon pricing schemes form an essential part of fighting climate change and must be part of Manitoba’s plan, a new coalition argues.
The Manitoba Carbon Pricing Coalition will launch on the steps of the Legislative Building on Thursday morning, its members say. They plan to push the provincial government to put a price on carbon.
The group is made up of climate activists and public policy experts from groups including the Green Action Centre and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government is one of two provincial holdouts on the federal government’s emission-cutting scheme, under which provinces must use cap-and-trade, carbon taxes or a combination of both to combat climate change. Saskatchewan is the other.
Opponents argue that any government-imposed carbon pricing scheme will hurt the economy.
Coalition member Curt Hull, project manager of Climate Change Connection, disagrees.
“We don’t think that that’s necessarily true. It’s going to be a pinch, but that pinch is part of the reason for it. It’s intended to drive change,” he said in an interview on CBC’s Information Radio.
The group’s launch comes less than a month after the launch of another coalition that opposes a carbon pricing scheme.
The Manitobans Against Carbon Taxes Coalition, made up of members of the Canadian Wheat Growers Association, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, joined forces with a national group called AxeTheCarbonTax.ca to fight any carbon reduction scheme that involves taxing commodities such as fuel.
Climate change has hidden costs, Hull said. People notice worsening floods and wildfires, but might not make the connection between those events and climate change, which is driven largely by carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels, he said.
In June, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Manitoba and Saskatchewan have until the end of the year to sign on to the federal agreement or the provinces will lose out on millions of dollars to help cut emissions.
The coalition supports a national carbon pricing strategy because it argues that is the most effective and fair way to reduce emissions, although Hull acknowledged members of the coalition have disagreements over the details, such as pricing schedules and revenue recycling options.
“But that’s where the discussion is needed, and that discussion needs to be well-informed and involve a broad…