Turning Down the Heat is intended to assist in the search for ways to reduce Canadian greenhouse gas emissions. It examines the potential role for emissions trading in implementation of Canada’s greenhouse gas emission reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol.
Under trading programs, individual polluters are given flexibility in how to reduce their emissions. Where an emitter can, at a low or negative cost, reduce emissions or energy use beyond what is required by regulation they can sell an emission reduction credit or an allowance to a polluter who cannot reduce their emissions as easily. The purchaser of the credit or allowance is then allowed to emit more. The theory of emissions trading assumes that by placing increased choice of control measures in the hands of emitters, emissions will be reduced at the lowest cost.
Emissions trading has often been promoted as a panacea, an alternative to regulation, and a new way to reduce emissions that will be politically easy and achieve emission reductions at the lowest cost.
Turning Down the Heat finds that, while there is potentially a large role for emission trading, it is none of the above. It is one tool — albeit a potentially important one — among many to reduce green- house gases.
Turning Down the Heat will be of interest to anyone concerned with climate change and how greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced.