Premier Wade MacLauchlan welcomes carbon pricing agreement

Jim Day jday@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on March 4, 2016

Premier Wade MacLauchlan is returning to P.E.I. from the first ministers meeting in Vancouver. He is pictured here speaking with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne 

©Adam Scotti/ Office of the Prime Minister

Premier Wade MacLauchlan is returning to P.E.I. from the first ministers meeting in Vancouver with a sense of accomplishment.

“It achieved what I had hoped for,’’ says MacLauchlan.

The premier says the 13 provincial and territorial leaders and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reached a consensus to work together to move towards what he termed a lower carbon future.

Opposition Leader Jamie Fox is eager for details on the province’s carbon tax plans.

“All other Atlantic premiers have weighed in yet ours continues to avoid sharing any details,’’ Fox said in a statement Friday.

“Islanders can be forgiven for thinking that this government has no plan, no costs, and no clue on a new carbon tax for Islanders.’’

MacLauchlan says he has nothing to announce.

He says P.E.I. will be part of a working group that will work over the next six months to determine carbon price mechanisms.

 “If anybody has any great ideas on that we would welcome them,’’ said MacLauchlan.

“”I think what we all agreed to (Thursday)…is that we will work together on carbon pricing mechanisms adapted to each province’s and territories’ circumstances.’’

Carbon taxes are typically levied on fuels and other greenhouse gas sources such as gasoline, diesel, propane and furnace oil.

In addition to carbon pricing mechanisms, the working groups will examine adaptation and resilience, such as clean infrastructure spending, clean tech innovation and jobs, and climate mitigation strategies.

MacLauchlan says P.E.I. was recognized at the conference for gains in biomass and wind energy.

“And to recognize in a global sense that P.E.I. is a leader,’’ he added.

He believes increased attention to clean tech innovation will provide the province an opportunity to grow its economy.

The Vancouver meeting was supposed to be the venue where a new, ambitious national target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions was set following December’s international Paris climate accord.

There was no new target set Thursday and Trudeau referred to the existing 2030 goal set by the previous Conservative government as a “significant’’ challenge, “but it is one we are going to be able to reach.’’