NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair says he is convinced the Obama administration will reignite its push for a cap-and-trade system in the second term – a “polluter pays” plan he advocates.
“I think there is a lot of hope for the future now that (Obama) has a new term… He talked eloquently and passionately about coming to grips with the issue of climate change,” Mulcair told reporters on Wednesday while reacting to election results.
“Don’t be surprised if you see them coming forward with something they have talked about in the past … which is a cap-and-trade system.”
Mulcair said an American cap-and-trade system would be a “very good thing for the planet” and future generations would benefit from the emission-trading system.
In his first term, President Barack Obama put a cap-and-trade plan in his first budget. The legislation passed in the House of Representatives but the Senate did not make progress on the bill a year later. After Republicans won a majority and gained seats in the House, Obama publicly admitted the bill couldn’t pass.
Mulcair is hopeful, however, that a second term for Obama will also mean a “new era” for the policy.
Under a cap-and-trade system, government sets a cap on emissions and assigns companies carbon credits which can be auctioned or swapped among firms.
The cost of credits is set at market value and companies exceeding caps would be forced to pay a penalty.
Conservatives have spent weeks hammering the NDP for its cap-and-trade plan, suggesting the system will mean a “tax on everything.”
The Conservatives had a cap-and-trade plan built into the 2008 election platform but the party has abandoned the proposal, citing it would drive up taxes and harm the Canadian economy.
Many environmental groups have called for a cap-and-trade system to combat climate change.
The NDP’s 2011 election platform centred around generating $3.6 billion in cap-and trade-revenue, but former leader Jack Layton wouldn’t specify at the time how his platform would be affected if the money was not there.