Press release

Manitoba Economy Can Benefit From Emissions Trading

January 14, 2004

New Report Details How Manitoba Can Gain from Canada's Proposed Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading System

WINNIPEG — Manitoba can use its natural assets to seize the opportunities presented by the Government of Canada's proposed greenhouse gas emissions trading system, states a new report released today by the Task Force on Emissions Trading and the Manitoba Economy chaired by the Honourable Lloyd Axworthy.

The report Realizing Opportunities: Emissions Trading in Manitoba was presented by Mr. Axworthy to Manitoba Premier Gary Doer at the Manitoba Legislative Building today.

"We all know climate change is a key issue for the 21st century and Canada is coming to grips with how it is going to cope with its impacts both environmentally and economically," said Lloyd Axworthy, chair of the task force.

"The federal government has asked for input into its proposed emissions trading system, and Manitoba has really taken the lead in identifying opportunities," he added.

While the international implementation of the Kyoto Protocol weathers the storm of on-again off-again Russian ratification, all indications point to the virtual certainty of a dynamic trading market for emissions emerging – with or without Kyoto.

The task force came to three overarching conclusions related to the federal government's proposed system:

  1. Manitoba has a natural advantage in clean electricity and the reduction of emissions and enhancement of sinks from agriculture and forestry activities. Manitoba can supply offset credits and the provision of clean, renewable energy.

  2. 2008 is too late! The proposed start date for the federal system should be earlier in order to allow time to smoothly implement emissions trading.

  3. We need to get the trading system right in the long run. The proposed federal emissions trading system needs major revisions in order to foster a clean energy, low-emission economy.

"A new system has to provide stronger incentives for electricity that doesn't produce greenhouse gas emissions and to encourage energy efficiency," said Axworthy. "For example, a new low-impact hydro development in Manitoba would receive no economic incentive under the federal government plan and if this doesn't change neither will Canada's energy mix."

"We should also be expanding the coverage of the trading system so that it doesn't just target large industrial greenhouse gas emitters. A broader system would provide the necessary economic incentives to more emitters across the country," he added.

"The Task Force Report reinforces Manitoba's enviable position as being a 'green' leader in Canada," said Premier Doer. "Our government is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and promoting a clean energy economy through initiatives such as new generation hydro and a national energy grid. This report and the central idea of building environmental considerations into investment and development decisions makes sense for the long-term well being of our economy, our environment and the planet."

"Manitoba is in a good position to be able to fill the power-generation void left by the coal-fired plants that are due to be closed in Ontario," said David Runnalls, task force member and President and CEO of the Winnipeg-based International Institute for Sustainable Development. "New hydro developments and wind opportunities provide non-emitting, sustainable electricity sources."

"The farming community in Manitoba can also play a key role in reducing greenhouse gases," says Ian Wishart, task force member and Executive Member of Keystone Agricultural Producers. "Managing manure more effectively and capturing methane would reduce the impacts of livestock, and with farmers avoiding summer fallowing, the soil can soak up carbon dioxide."

The task force was commissioned by the Provincial Government and its members included: Rob Altemeyer, MLA; Lloyd Axworthy, Chair; Bob Brennan, President and CEO of Manitoba Hydro; Andrew Cowan, City of Winnipeg; Terry Duguid, Chairman of the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission; Kerry Hawkins, President of Cargill Ltd; Merrell-Ann Phare, Executive Director of the Centre of Indigenous Environmental Resources; Bob Puchniak, Executive VP and CFO of James Richardson & Sons Ltd; David Runnalls, President and CEO of the International Institute for Sustainable Development; Marsha Sheppard, President, ECOMatters; Michael Spence, Mayor of the City of Churchill; and Ian Wishart, Executive Member, Keystone Agricultural Producers. The International Institute for Sustainable Development served as the secretariat for the task force. The task force was funded by the Province of Manitoba, Western Economic Diversification Canada and Manitoba Hydro.

"The Government of Canada's commitment to addressing climate change and greenhouse gas effects presents an economic opportunity for Manitoba," said the Honourable Dr. Rey Pagtakhan, Minister of Western Economic Diversification. "This report will help us determine possible next steps towards realizing this potential. Western Economic Diversification Canada is pleased to have contributed to this study."

"Climate change is very real and a real concern for Manitobans," said Axworthy. "Our recommendations are intended to be a roadmap for Manitoba to become an innovative leader in the greenhouse gas emissions trading market."

About IISD

The International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) is an award-winning independent think tank working to accelerate solutions for a stable climate, sustainable resource management, and fair economies. Our work inspires better decisions and sparks meaningful action to help people and the planet thrive. We shine a light on what can be achieved when governments, businesses, non-profits, and communities come together. IISD’s staff of more than 250 experts come from across the globe and from many disciplines. With offices in Winnipeg, Geneva, Ottawa, and Toronto, our work affects lives in nearly 100 countries.