Senate releases report on Canada's energy future

7 juillet 2010

Ce billet est disponible en anglais seulement.

On June 29, the Senate released a 75 page interim report on Canada’s energy future. 

The report, entitled “Attention Canada: Preparing for Our Energy Future” is based on nine months of testimony collected by the Senate’s Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources.The Committee heard from witnesses from the energy sector, think tanks, and other stakeholders. 

In the interim report, the Committee looked at the country’s major energy issues, including the potential for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through a national carbon tax. The report states that the majority of witnesses appearing before the Committee presented a carbon tax as the most efficient way of reducing emissions. 

The committee found near unanimity among witnesses –from the petroleum industry to environmental organizations –that supported pricing carbon as the most efficient way to reduce emissions. Given the choice, most witnesses favoured carbon taxes over cap-and-trade but both are market-based approaches for pricing carbon and both can be levied at different stages along the fossil fuel supply chain.

Generally, witnesses stated that a carbon tax would be more economically efficient and less complex to administer than a cap-and-trade system. For either method, it was stressed that carbon pricing should be applied broadly and uniformly throughout the economy and across Canada.

The report reviews the debate surrounding carbon capture and storage (CCS). The Committee heard from some witnesses who were advocates of CCS technology and its ability to decrease emissions on a large scale, and from other witnesses who argued that the effectiveness of CCS is unknown and that the technology remains costly. 

The report further addressed the future of fossil fuels, and the prospects of nuclear and other renewable energy sources.

The Committee is currently asking all Canadians to contribute to its final report on Canada’s energy strategy, which is set to be released in June 2011.

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