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Canada-U.S. Climate Change

Impacts of U.S. Climate Change Policy for Canada: Exploring the promise of integrating Canadian and U.S. carbon markets

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Forthcoming Conference in January 2009

With the coming presidential election, the U.S. is likely to enact sweeping climate change legislation that will impact Canadian-U.S. relations in significant ways. The single largest impact will be to Canadian energy exports which may become markedly more expensive in the U.S.  Even small reductions in U.S. demand for Canadian energy could have large negative impacts on the Canadian economy. On the other hand, there are ways Canada may benefit from US climate policy. Canada’s clean hydropower resources will be in greater demand. Similarly, Canada’s large stock of forests currently sequesters carbon which may enable Canada to sell carbon offsets to the US companies.

Exactly how Canada will be impacted by the U.S. climate policy depends upon which of several climate policy designs the U.S. Congress ultimately chooses. The currently favored policy is the Warner-Lieberman bill recently introduced in the Senate. The impacts on Canada also depend upon what type of national climate policy Canada adopts and how soon it will do so. Negative impacts on Canada of U.S. climate change policy will be smaller if Canada and the U.S. can synchronize their climate policies and integrate their carbon markets.

The purpose of this conference is to bring together Canadian and U.S. policymakers, business leaders and academics to explore in detail the three critical questions:

  1. Canadian Energy: How will alternative designs of U.S. climate policy affect the quantity and price of exported Canadian energy? Which aspects of U.S. policies will have the largest likely impact on Canadian energy exports and why? 
  2. Canadian Forest and Hydropower. Which aspects of U.S. climate policy being considered will provide the greatest benefits to the Canadian forestry and hydropower sectors and why?
  3. Implication for Canadian Climate Change Policy. How does the U.S. and the European’s adoption of carbon cap-and-trade programs affect the pros and cons of alternative national policies that Canada may ultimately adopt?

Conference Outputs. The objective of the conference is to help inform and shape the agendas of Canadian and U.S. policymakers, industry leaders and academics with respect to U.S. and Canadian climate change policy. It is scheduled for January 2009 in Los Angeles. In preparation for the conference, eight papers will be commissioned that will serve as the launching pad for discussion at the conference.  These papers will subsequently be published as an edited volume in mid 2009.

Dr. J.R. DeShazo, Director of Canadian Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

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