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Better Together? The Implications of Linking Canada-US Greenhouse Gas Policies

  • Dave Sawyer


  • Carolyn Fischer

    (Resources for the Future)

The Canadian and American economies are inextricably intertwined through trade. As the two countries debate plans to curb greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, policymakers in both countries must consider how emissions policies, such as an emissions trading system that sets economy-wide limits on GHG emissions and allows firms to trade GHG emissions permits for the right to pollute, might coexist. This paper analyzes the implications of linking elements of potential Canadian and American GHG emissions trading systems, including the scope of emissions covered by the systems, national emissions-reduction targets, emissions permit prices, and cross-border trade of emissions permits. This assessment indicates that linked allowance trade with the US would not necessarily be the best policy for Canada to pursue, as the US develops its own system. Instead, Canada should forge ahead with its own system, while minimizing the risk of getting too far out of step with the US on relative carbon prices. A policy of “go-it-alone” with similar carbon price expectations, and a targeted innovation agenda, seems to be a low-risk strategy for Canada as it develops its emissions policies.

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Article provided by C.D. Howe Institute in its journal C.D. Howe Institute Commentary.

Volume (Year): (2010)
Issue (Month): 307 (August)

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Handle: RePEc:cdh:commen:307
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  1. Jan Carr, 2010. "Power Sharing: Developing Inter-Provincial Electricity Trade," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 306, July.
  2. David Johnson, 2007. "School Grades: Identifying Albert's Best Public Schools," C.D. Howe Institute Backgrounder, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 104, September.
  3. William B.P. Robson & Colin Busby, 2010. "Freeing up Food: The Ongoing Cost, and Potential Reform, of Supply Management," C.D. Howe Institute Backgrounder, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 128, April.
  4. John Richards, 2010. "Reducing Lone-Parent Poverty: A Canadian Success Story," C.D. Howe Institute Commentary, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 305, June.
  5. Lawrence L. Herman, 2010. "Trend Spotting: NAFTA Disputes After Fifteen Years," C.D. Howe Institute Backgrounder, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 133, July.
  6. Robert Knox, 2010. "Who Can Work Where: Reducing Barriers to Labour Mobility in Canada," C.D. Howe Institute Backgrounder, C.D. Howe Institute, issue 131, June.
  7. Angelo Melino & Michael Parkin, 2010. "Greater Transparency Needed," e-briefs 102, C.D. Howe Institute.
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