Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault takes part in a conversation with Diana Fox Carney, Senior Adviser, Eurasia Group and Strategic Advisory Board Member, Terramera, during the Canada 2020 Net-Zero Leadership Summit in Ottawa on Wednesday, April 19, 2023. Guilbeault says a new analysis of the social cost of carbon emissions suggests the economic cost of greenhouse gas emissions is nearly five times higher than previously thought. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick


By Mia Rabson in Ottawa

The economic cost of greenhouse gas emissions is nearly five times higher than previously thought, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said Wednesday.

The minister told attendees at a climate change conference in Ottawa that the government used updated scientific knowledge and economic models to revise the way it evaluates how much climate change is costing Canadians.

The new numbers have been in development for months but come after a recent report from the parliamentary budget officer on the economic costs of the carbon price. That report did not specifically equate the cost of the price on carbon to the costs of climate change itself.

“The updates to the social cost of carbon simply show that every tonne of greenhouse gas is costing the economy more,” Guilbeault said at the Net Zero Leadership Summit.

The social cost of carbon estimates the financial impact that every tonne of emissions has on everything from food production and human health to disaster repair bills and even property values.

The idea is that growing emissions contribute more to global warming, and every increase in global average temperatures can increase the number and severity of extreme weather events.

More than seven years ago an analysis estimated that by 2020 the cost would be about $54 a tonne in 2020. Guilbeault said the updated model suggests that figure was actually closer to $247.

He said this year it’s even higher, at $261 per tonne of emissions, and by 2030 it will rise to $294.

“Pause for a moment to understand what this signifies,” Guilbeault said.

“Every tonne of carbon we reduce this year saves society as a whole $261 — and we are talking in terms of cutting megatonnes: millions of tonnes.”

Between 2005 — the year Canada uses as the base for its 2030 emissions targets — and 2021, Canada eliminated 62 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. Using the new social cost of carbon figure, that equates to saving almost $10 billion.

However that doesn’t include an estimate of what it cost to eliminate those 62 million tonnes. The carbon price in 2021 was $40 per tonne, and it will rise to $170 per tonne in 2030.

Last year a federal analysis of regulations to reduce emissions produced from gasoline and diesel said the cost of that policy was about $151 per tonne.

Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission in 2017 pegged the cost of Quebec’s electric vehicle subsidy at about $355 per tonne. Most provinces and the federal government now have some kind of electric vehicle subsidy.

By 2030, Canada wants to eliminate at least another 231 million tonnes. That could save $68 billion on the emissions side, but there are no direct comparisons to illustrate how much it will cost to do that.

Canada has dozens of other policies designed to help meet that target, including phasing out coal power, expanding renewable electricity, mandating an end to the sale of gas-powered cars and capping emissions from the oil and gas industry.

The parliamentary budget officer’s recent analysis of carbon pricing said the government’s climate rebates are more than the direct cost of carbon pricing for most families, but when you factor in the economic costs — such as lower incomes or job losses — many families may have less money in 2030 than they would without the carbon price.

Guilbeault and others criticized that report for not being explicit that climate change itself is contributing to job losses and lower incomes.

The social cost of carbon analysis is done in concert with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which published its interim values last year but is still reviewing them before releasing a final version. Canada published its final numbers Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 19, 2023.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2022. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


  • 0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
    0051 JML Hiring Pumpjack assembly
  • 0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
    0049 Scotsburn Dental soft guitar
  • 0050 Pride Upkeep lawn
    0050 Pride Upkeep lawn
  • 0048 Hutts Trucking Safety
    0048 Hutts Trucking Safety
  • 0047 Estevan Oilfield Technical Society 2023
    0047 Estevan Oilfield Technical Society 2023
  • 0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
    0046 City of Estevan This is Estevan
  • 0044 PTRC CCUS Aquistore
    0044 PTRC CCUS Aquistore
  • 0043 ALX ten sizes
    0043 ALX ten sizes
  • 0039 Summit ESP Saskatchewan lower third
    0039 Summit ESP Saskatchewan lower third
  • 0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
    0041 DEEP Since 2018 now we are going to build
  • 0040 Southeast College safety tickets
    0040 Southeast College safety tickets
  • 0032 IWS Summer hiring rock trailer music
  • 0029 Latus Viro updated Latus phone
  • 0025 Kendalls
  • 0023 LC Trucking tractor picker hiring mix
  • 0022 Grimes winter hiring
  • 0021 OSY Rentals S8 Promo
  • 0019 Jerry Mainil Ltd hiring dugout
  • 0018 IWS Hiring Royal Summer
  • 0013 Panther Drilling PO ad 03 top drive rigs
  • 0011
  • 0006 JK Junior
  • 0004 Royal Helium PO Ad 02
  • 9001
  • 0002


Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announces “social cost on carbon.” Could this mean a $247/tonne carbon tax?