Climate change presents environmental, political, social and economic challenges worldwide. As the pressure mounts for global leaders to take action, Canada’s provincial governments are adopting policies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the absence of a national climate change strategy.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has promised updated regulations regarding the province’s $15-per-tonne emissions levy by the end of June 2015, with a more robust climate change policy to come. This comes just months after Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne signed a deal to join Québec’s cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, allowing the governments to mandate the exact change they want to see by specifying the amount of carbon a company may burn each year.

British Columbia’s carbon tax, implemented in 2008, puts a price on fossil fuels burned, with every dollar of revenue collected from the tax returned to provincial taxpayers and businesses through tax cuts. In Nova Scotia, a policy of capping emissions from electricity has put the province on track to meet its goal of a 26% decrease in its 2005 emissions levels.

Adapting to Climate Change

Concerns regarding global warming are challenging business leaders to rethink their environmental strategies. Businesses looking to navigate the complexities of Canadian environmental policy should pay close attention to provincial and federal developments over the coming months to best manage their risks and opportunities.