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Canadian government introduces first national carbon price

The Canadian government has approved a nationwide carbon price with most of the provinces. Only Saskatchewan and Manitoba did not agree, citing concerns the price hike would make Canadian firms less competitive.

The Canadian government approved a national carbon price on Friday after a heated discussion.

In a meeting attended by provincial representatives, aboriginal leaders, and United States Vice President Joe Biden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pushed the carbon-pricing plan he had been working on for months. This comes as Trudeau is worried about the US potentially making plans against reducing carbon emissions under President-elect Donald Trump, who called global warming a "hoax." Trump will become US president on January 20, 2017.

"I understand that many of you are concerned about what the new administration will do. Whatever uncertainty exists around the near-term policy choices of the next president, I am absolutely confident the United States will continue making progress in its path to a low-carbon future," said Biden at the meeting in Ottawa.

Biden continued by saying there is not much Trump could do to "turn back the tide" on environmental policies in the US.

The plan calls for the cost of producing a ton of carbon pollution to rise by 10 Canadian dollars ($7.60, 7.19 euro) per year, starting in 2018, until it reaches 50 Canadian dollars in 2022. In a compromise, the price would pause for British Columbia at 30 Canadian dollars in 2020.

Out of the 10 provinces, only Saskatchewan and Manitoba did not sign the agreement. Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said the carbon price increase would make Canadian firms less competitive. "We compete with the Americans in our province for drilling rigs. Our farmers compete with their farmers. Competitiveness for Canadians matters especially at a time when our energy sector is reeling from low commodity prices," said Wall.

Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister did not sign as he wants more money for health care, but may sign on in the future.

kbd/bw (AP, Reuters)

 

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