Allocating Canadian Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions amongst Sources and Provinces: Learning from Germany and the EU
04 / 2009 - 12 / 2012
The problem to be addressed is the weakness of the institutional framework used by the Canadian federal and provincial governments to reach agreement on which sour-ces of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and therefore which provinces, should con-tribute what portion of the over-all Canadian reduction target established under the Kyoto Protocol or a successor regime. The subject is important because the present lack of co-ordination precludes effective policy. Although the weakness of the institu-tional framework is not the only cause of the present lack of co-ordination, it is the one which can be most readily addressed by federal and provincial climate-change policy makers. The purpose of the project proposed here is to identify and recom-mend to those policy makers incremental, viable steps which can be taken to strengthen the process used for co- ordinating national climate policy. The research plan which will be used to achieve that objective has four elements, as follows. 1) We will do primary research in order to better understand the factors which have led to the weakness in the institutional frameworks used to date in Canada. 2) We will identify possible recommendations in the relevant academic literature for addressing the factors discovered in the first step, and then test their viability through telephone interviews with federal and provincial officials. 3) Through two case-studies, research will be done on the ways in which the institutional framework has contributed to successful allocation of responsibility and to incentives for GHG reduction in two analogous federated systems, Germany and the European Union. 4) The research findings from those three elements will be used to develop draft recommendations, which will then be further developed at three multi-stakeholder workshops, in Edmonton, Ottawa and Halifax. The resulting analysis and recom-mendations will then be finalized and presented to governments, and published in the academic literature and in professional journals. From 1992 to 2002, Canadian governments engaged in a multilateral, lowest-common-denominator process which did not result in effective policy instruments. Since then, the provinces alone, through the Council of the Federation, have been unable to co-ordinate policy. The bilateral, federal-provincial process used from 2003 to 2005 was ineffective. Since 2006 policy has been unco-ordinated. By contrast, Germany has been able to allocate responsibility, as was the EU, expressed in the 1998 Burden Sharing Agreement. Both Germany and the EU are on track to meet their Kyoto commitments, in part due that institutional ability to allocate responsibility and to provide (economic and institutional) incentives. Canada can learn by studying these two jurisdictions, both federations and, to date, more effective than any others in developing and implementing climate change policy.