Price on carbon key to Canada tackling global warming, say researchers

April 22, 2015 at 10:44 am Leave a comment

Renewable energy potential in Canada.

Renewable energy potential in Canada.

65 researchers from provinces across Canada have published a report, Acting on Climate Change, that details how the country can successfully decarbonize its electric grid to slow global warming.

The team unanimously endorsed putting a price on carbon pollution as a key strategy. Without a carbon fee, the price of electricity on the market doesn’t reflect its true costs to society. This is a market failure that economists call an “externality,” where the costs associated with a product (in this case, damages incurred via climate change) aren’t captured in its market price. Instead they’re paid by taxpayers in what could be considered a massive subsidy to the fossil fuel industry.

The report notes that Canada has substantial renewable energy resources at its disposal. To date, 10.8% of its energy is supplied by hydroelectricity, 5.8% from renewables, and 9.1% from nuclear power. From the fossil fuel sector, 30.8% is supplied by natural gas, 36.4% from oil, and 7.1% from coal. It says:

“With vast, already installed hydropower capacity and rich potential in undeveloped renewable energy sources that could be harnessed to produce electricity, Canada could rapidly move away from fossil fuels in the electricity sector. This transformation, which would put Canada at the forefront of green electricity internationally, could also provide significant cost-savings and give leverage to a num­ber of Canadian industrial sectors.”

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Entry filed under: Carbon_Emissions, Climate, Economy, Energy, Renewables.

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