TORONTO, Ont. — An announcement yesterday that Ontario will join Quebec in introducing a carbon cap and trade system raised questions about how the trucking industry will be affected.
The Ontario Trucking Association (OTA) reacted with questions about how funds raised will be reinvested. OTA president David Bradley also wondered how and what carbon caps will be applied to transportation fuel.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said details of the plan will be released sometime this fall.
“In establishing a cap and trade system, Ontario intends to join North America’s largest carbon market already being operated by Quebec and California,” Wynne said in a joint statement with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard. “This will help improve market stability, minimize implementation costs and provide a consistent approach to greenhouse gas emitters in both provinces.”
Bradley said the trucking industry will likely be impacted by the scheme through increased fuel prices and maybe even higher equipment costs.
“The trucking industry is already taking action by voluntarily investing in GHG reduction technologies and devices,” he said. “On the regulatory front, Ontario recently introduced a biodiesel mandate supposedly to reduce GHGs and the US and Canadian federal governments jointly introduced a new North American fuel economy/GHG reduction regulation for heavy trucks.
“More can always be done, especially if it encourages investment in carbon reduction. For a cap and trade system to work, it would need to be transparent and reinvest what motor carriers will pay, either directly or indirectly through higher prices, to help them expedite the shift to current, proven fuel-saving technologies and next generation solutions,” Bradley added. “However, if the sole outcome of a cap and trade system is to raise the price of diesel fuel and/or help some other industry reduce its carbon footprint, then we would obviously be very concerned.”
Bradley pointed out the trucking industry is already transitioning to more fuel-efficient trucks that produce less emissions. He said the industry would like government to partner with it to encourage the adoption of such equipment.
“What we have been seeking is a partner in government to work with us to retool our fleets at a faster pace and therefore to bring about GHG reductions more quickly,” Bradley said.