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Good morning. It’s James Keller in Calgary.

The federal government’s attempt to put a price on greenhouse gas emissions has drawn the ire of conservative premiers since its inception. The policy was a central plank of the Trudeau government’s climate strategy and was designed to change the behaviour of citizens and corporations that contribute to climate change.

The consumer levy was always the most contentious, with opponents accusing the federal government of reaching into people’s pockets and punishing them for heating their homes or driving their cars. The Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act set a minimum standard for carbon pricing, which provinces could either meet with their own policies or be subject to the federal system, known as the backstop.

Conservative premiers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario were among the loudest critics and launched legal challenges through constitutional references to the courts. All three cases ended up at the Supreme Court of Canada, which ruled this week that the federal pricing scheme is constitutional. The court ruled that climate change is a threat so grave that it justified the federal government forcing provinces to put a price on carbon or imposing its own.

The court also ruled that a policy that has long been described as a carbon tax is, in fact, not a tax at all. Rather, the fees on fossil fuels are “regulatory charges,” which was an important finding to support the court’s ultimate conclusion to uphold the federal law. The main goal of the law is not to raise money for government spending, the court ruled, but rather to change behaviour.

The premiers who challenged the law were left to express their disappointment while conceding that they have reached the end of their legal challenges.

Premier Jason Kenney of Alberta said he would consult with the public about how to proceed – for example, whether the province will set its own carbon price to control how the money is collected and spent. He has said that the federal system is a better deal for the public than a system introduced by Alberta’s previous NDP government, because Ottawa’s system returns most of the money back through rebates. He also raised the possibility of adopting something similar to Quebec’s cap and trade system.

Mr. Kenney argued that just because the court ruled that the carbon price is legal doesn’t mean it’s right to add to the costs consumers pay for fuel.

The Alberta Court of Appeal previously found the federal carbon pricing system was unconstitutional in a 4-1 ruling. Appeal courts in Saskatchewan and Ontario sided with Ottawa, also with split decisions. None of those rulings was binding.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said his government would introduce a provincial carbon price. He said that the province’s legal challenge was worth fighting, but it’s time to move on.

“We don’t agree with the ruling, but I’ve played enough hockey to know that we’re not going to do a lot of fruitful arguing with the referees after the game is over.”

Ontario Environment Minister Jeff Yurek said he was disappointed with the ruling but would respect it. The Ontario government hasn’t said what it intends to do now, including whether it will introduce its own price on carbon.

Federal Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole made it clear he doesn’t agree the fight is over. He promised to repeal the federal carbon pricing law if elected.

“We will protect the environment and fight the reality of climate change, but we won’t do it by making the poorest pay more.”

Our columnists analyzed the environmental and political implications of the Supreme Court ruling.

Kelly Cryderman writes that while the legal fight is over, the political battle is not: “Still, Mr. Kenney must walk a fine political line as he both battles the federal government and works with it on the list of items where the province and Ottawa have found some common ground – including Alberta’s current system for pricing on industrial emissions, and what could be a multibillion-dollar spend on carbon capture, utilization and storage.”

Adam Radwanksi says it’s time for conservative politicians to give up the fight, which will only hurt the effectiveness of the carbon price: “That impact stands to be blunted if there is uncertainty about whether carbon pricing is here to stay (let alone whether Ottawa will be able to see through its planned increase to $170 a tonne from $30 by 2030), and a lingering possibility that the value it adds to low-emissions products or services could be removed at any time.”

Campbell Clark writes that Mr. O’Toole’s approach to the climate will need to attract voters in regions of the country that don’t share the deep hatred of carbon prices in places such as Alberta and Saskatchewan: ”So Mr. O’Toole’s job, in political terms, is to make the last stand against carbon taxes without making too big a deal of it.”

And Andrew Coyne says the best-case scenario for Mr. O’Toole is that the court ruling finally puts the debate over carbon pricing to bed: “It’s a funny thing. The case for the carbon tax was supposed to be that it was the most efficient way of reducing emissions, economically. But it has also proved to be a legal and political winner. The sooner the issue is put to bed, the better – for Mr. O’Toole’s sake, and the country’s.”

This is the weekly Western Canada newsletter written by B.C. Editor Wendy Cox and Alberta Bureau Chief James Keller. If you’re reading this on the web, or it was forwarded to you from someone else, you can sign up for it and all Globe newsletters here.