Monday, April 25, 2011

GHG Election Tracker - New Democratic Party Platform

Today the GHG Election Tracker takes on the NDP platform to see how it measures up on climate change policy and emission reduction potential.

The New Democrats have developed a platform that shows commitment to fighting climate change domestically with a further commitment to play nice on the international stage. Unlike the other 2 parties of the big 3, the NDP policies address all 5 of the 5 policy strategy areas on our GHG election tracker template. That said, the detail is very sketchy in places.

The NDP presents a target that is identical to the Liberals. They use 1990 as their baseline year and commit to reduce emission by 80% of 1990 levels by 2050. As well, they propose to impose interim targets, but leave those undefined in their platform document.

Regulations and Incentives
The NDP promises to put a price on carbon through a cap-and-trade system. They will establish hard emissions limits for Canada’s biggest polluters. By restricting the regulations to the largest emitters, this may mean that their cap-and-trade system is more limited than the Liberal party’s strategy. A more ubiquitous system would enable more reductions and more opportunities for offsets. Without the full details of both plans, it is difficult to compare. However, commitment to hard caps and a price on carbon indicates real commitment to meeting emission reduction goals

The NDP has indicated as well that they would integrate the design of the system with the Obama administration in the hopes of building a North American-wide cap-and-trade system.

Energy Sources and Efficiency
The NDP appears to have made a cogent strategy to enable the transition to low carbon fuel sources. They will cut subsidies to non-renewable sources such as fossil fuels. The funds from emission reductions auctions will be redirected into renewable energy. They will reinstate incentives for renewable energy. As well they have outlined a transition plan to incent innovative “made in Canada” green technology solutions; strategies to manage transitional costs and re-engineering of energy dependent industries to help them adapt to a low carbon world; and a Green Jobs Fund to support workers though the transition to a clean energy economy. They also propose green bonds to help fund RE research and community energy to round out a very thorough energy program.

Finally, they offer a national public transit strategy to address one of Canada’s major carbon emission sources, the transportation sector.

Climate Change Research and Funding
This is the only platform of the big three that proposes to deal with adaptation to climate change, if only in a cursory mention in their promise to establish effective programs to help Canadian communities deal with the unfolding impacts of a warming planet.

International Policy
The NDP platform is thin on details about their plans for international participation in dealing with climate change. However, they commit to play a lead role in achieving a new international agreement to avert catastrophic global warming and ensure that Canada meets its climate change obligations.

The NDP platform with regard to climate change is aggressive in its targets and very thorough in its approaches to dealing with the transition to low carbon energy sources and alternatives. The platform is weak however in the details regarding their international approach, their adaptation strategy, and the cap-and-trade system. While their focus on North American integration of emission reduction strategy and cap-and-trade is an intelligent strategy, one hopes that we will not be entirely dependent on leadership south of the border. Savvy flexibility is good. Abandoning our leadership position, not so much. We can hope they intend the former.

No comments:

Post a Comment