Canada outlines carbon-emissions price plan

The Canadian environment minister, John Baird, outlined on Thursday the government's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. Under the plan, a tonne of carbon dioxide will be valued at $15 beginning in 2010, rising to $20 in 2013 and annually after that at the rate of growth of nominal gross domestic product.
Canada's decision to put a dollar value on carbon emissions will go a long way toward improving energy efficiency and boosting innovation in the country's industrial sectors, experts say.
Companies that exceed their emission limits have the option of paying into a technology fund that will promote the development and deployment of clean technologies. To avoid such payments, they can attempt to reduce emissions internally or participate in a domestic or international emissions-trading scheme.
Environmental groups criticised the government's plan, however, for failing to meet the requirement of the Kyoto Protocol, which called for a cut in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2012 that is 6% below 1990 levels. Instead, Canada is promising to reduce emissions by 20% from 2006 levels by 2020 – a much less aggressive target, but one which Baird said strikes a balance between the status quo and the need for environmental action.