Climate policy subsystems in Alberta and British Columbia: Lessons for climate policymaking

Title: Climate policy subsystems in Alberta and British Columbia: Lessons for climate policymaking
Authors: Tolsma, Saskia Ruth
Date: 2012
Abstract: Given climate policy stagnation at the federal level in Canada, it is important to study provincial climate policy efforts as an important location of policy innovation. This paper uses the literature on policy subsystems to analyze provincial climate initiatives in Alberta and British Columbia. Specifically, the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation in Alberta, and the carbon tax in BC will be evaluated for their stringency and effectiveness in meeting provincial climate plans. The central issue to be explored is how the nature of the different subsystems has influenced policy outcomes and instrument choice. Close attention will be paid to the political economy of climate policy instrument choice in each subsystem, drawing on the observations of David Victor who suggests that climate policy is driven by who pays the costs of the policy and the relative distribution of these costs. This requires consideration of the structural power of emitters within the subsystem. The relative power of environmental groups and industry was found to influence the instrument choice within each subsystem. It suggests that subsystems with greater countervailing power to industry are more likely to choose market-based policy instruments, as regulations can be used to control the costs and their allocation, often to the detriment of emissions reductions. The paper also suggests that while provincial action is stalled without further national or US action, it also highlights that Alberta and British Columbia were willing to strengthen their climate policies given greater collective action.
CollectionAffaires publiques et internationales - Mémoires // Public and International Affairs - Research Papers
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