A price signal on carbon

The former CEO of Syncrude wants to see a national price on carbon.

“I think that a lot of people in industry would say that we do need to some how come down with a price signal on carbon,” former Syncrude CEO Eric Newell told The Hill Times last week. “By avoiding it, I don’t think the federal government’s policy will allow for the range of options that we need to be successful.”

Mr. Newell, who headed Syncrude for 14 years, chairs Alberta’s Climate Change and Emissions Management Corporation (CCEMC). CCEMC takes revenues generated by the province’s carbon tax and invests them in a variety of projects aimed at reducing the province’s industrial greenhouse gas emissions. Since 2007 major emitters in Alberta producing 100,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gas annually are required to purchase carbon offsets or pay $15 per tonne of emissions.

Five years into the program, CCEMC has invested more than $300-million in projects aimed at deploying renewable energy, improving energy efficiency, and developing clean technologies such as carbon capture and storage in Alberta’s major emitting sectors. “It’s a very direct model, and I think it does foster innovation and technology. We’ve proven that in our short existence, so I would respectfully disagree with the federal government’s [position] that you don’t need a price signal on carbon, and that you can just do it by setting tough regulations and expecting industry to rise to the occasion,” said Mr. Newell.

In June, the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell told John Geddes that a price on carbon emissions was needed.

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