According to sustainable energy professor, Marc Jaccard, all the talk about carbon pricing is just hot air. The Simon Fraser prof has crunched the numbers and concludes that for Canada to meet its commitments from last year's Paris climate summit, the carbon price would have to come in at about $200 per tonne or almost seven times the $30 per tonne levied in British Columbia. That, in Dr. Jaccard's view, would be political suicide.
Jaccard points instead to a tool that is already reducing carbon in some of the world's largest economies — regulation.
"All climate policies that are actually effective are politically difficult," he said. "The only issue is which ones are more politically difficult.
"Taxes are more difficult than regulation."
Ottawa is grappling with climate-change policy in advance of an expected federal-provincial meeting on the matter later this year. Canada is on the hook to devise a way to meet its Paris goal of 30 per cent carbon reduction over 2005 levels by 2030.
Cabinet ministers have mused about imposing a national carbon price, while Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has suggested regulations could be part of the mix.
The regulations would phase out coal-fired power, require car builders to sell an increasing number of zero-emission vehicles, force trucks and buses to use more biodiesel and would cap the amount of carbon manufacturers are allowed to release per unit of production.