In Canada, the rebellion against the carbon tax is gaining momentum

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau on March 23 in Montreal (AFP/Alexis Aubin)

Polluters must pay: the message of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for years is getting worse and worse in the country where discontent is mounting against the carbon tax, his flagship environmental policy.

The surge in inflation in recent years and the push by the conservative opposition, which promises to abolish this tax if it returns to power, have clearly weakened this policy put in place by the Canadian Prime Minister in 2019.

And in recent months, the reversals of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself, who notably authorized an exception on oil heating for three years, have confused the message.

This carbon pricing is the main measure taken by his government to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40 to 45% by 2030, as it committed to under the Paris agreement.

It must increase from 65 to 80 Canadian dollars per tonne (45 to 55 euros) on April 1. This increase is expected to add around three cents (two euro cents) to the price of a liter of gasoline.

But seven provinces have asked to suspend or cancel the increase. The province of Newfoundland, although held by an ally of Justin Trudeau, is asking for a reprieve “at least until inflation stabilizes”.

This discontent suits Justin Trudeau’s main opponent for the next elections in fall 2025: Pierre Poilievre has made the high cost of living and the removal of the carbon tax one of his major campaign arguments.

Among the opposition, the mushroom factory in Osgoode, Ontario, has become a symbol. Producer Mike Medeiros shows his invoice to show that he will not be able to cope with the 23% increase.

– “Most effective way” –

The company, which employs 160 people and produces 90 tonnes of mushrooms each week, is a large consumer of natural gas to maintain heat and humidity in the 50 cultivation chambers.

“But by 2030, the cost of our carbon tax for heating alone will amount to half a million dollars. I cannot absorb this cost,” explains the producer to AFP.

In recent days, Justin Trudeau has once again tried to defend his policies.

In a letter to provinces on Tuesday, he explained that carbon pricing was “the most effective way to reduce emissions”, and that it only contributes 0.1% to inflation.

“Most Canadians benefit from a carbon rebate, meaning they get back more money than they pay,” he added, while “the effects devastating floods, wildfires and droughts drive up costs every year” for Canadians.

But according to the Angus Reid Institute, the cost of living is now at the top of Canadians’ priorities (56%) ahead of the fight against climate change (31%). And some 40% of Canadians now want the carbon tax to be abolished, compared to only 27% who believe it should increase as planned.

– “Deaf ears” –

Canada, which due to its geographical location is warming faster than the rest of the planet, has been confronted in recent years with extreme weather events whose intensity and frequency are increased by global warming.

Last year, the country was faced with a historic fire season: more than 18 million hectares burned.

For Lori Turnbull, professor of politics at Dalhousie University, however, the next elections will not be won on the theme of climate.

“People are feeling the pressure at the supermarket, at the pump, on their rent or their mortgage, and an increase in the carbon tax risks giving the impression that the government is turning a deaf ear to this crisis,” observes the academic.

Conversely, environmental defenders point out that Ottawa has implemented more than 10 climate plans since 1990, but that none have achieved their objectives and that the country remains one of the largest emitters of GHGs. in the world per capita.

According to the latest estimates from the Climate Institute of Canada, published in 2022, emissions from the country, the fourth largest oil producer in the world, have never stopped increasing.

© 2024 AFP

Did you like this article ? Share it with your friends using the buttons below.





Source link -85