Quebec to kick off carbon trading in 2013

21 May 2012

NEW YORK: Member of The Climate Group, Quebec, has launched a carbon cap and trade regulation to build an emerging market to boost carbon trading over the coming years, and will soon launch a draft linking regulation with another member, California.

Quebec is the first Canadian province to introduce cap and trade regulations for carbon emissions, and the second North American region, after the state of California.

Québec minister for Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, Pierre Arcand, first announced the scheme in December last year, outlining that the province’s biggest and most energy-consuming companies must reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the cap and trade system.

Minister Arcand commented on the linking of the two systems: “The cap-and-trade system is acknowledged as one of the most efficient and least costly economic tools available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is an important instrument in our transition to a green and prosperous economy. Québec is optimistic that its linking with California will be followed by many other partners.”

Beginning in 2013, 75 companies that produce over 25,000 tons of GHG every year will be asked to cut their emissions as part of the scheme, to help lower the province’s general GHG emissions.

If the companies do not lower their emissions, they must buy carbon credits from other companies, at a Government set minimal auction price of C$10 can per ton of carbon emissions in 2012. This will increase annually at a rate of 5% plus inflation until 2020.

In 2015, Quebec’s carbon trading scheme will extend to all distributors of fossil fuels, mainly used in transport, buildings and SME.

The North American regions of British Columbia, California, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec will work through the Western Climate Initiative towards the creation of a synchronized system. 

Minister Arcand first visited California during March to discuss linking the two systems. Quebec is now planning to launch its draft linking regulation in the coming weeks.

Already charging ahead in the trading markets, the Quebec Government also recently announced that it has selected CIRAIG to implement its produce carbon footprint project as part of its C$24 million carbon footprint certification initiative which aims to clarify best practices around quantification, verification and certification. CIRAIG uses the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Product Life Cycle Standard as a framework. 

Luc Bas, Director of European Programmes and International States and Regions, The Climate Group said: "Linking the two cap and trade systems opens up a wealth of opportunity to California and Quebec businesses, as well as signals the way forward for other economies to join up, or indeed collaborate on their own. The move shows that both Quebec and California are taking ambitious action regardless of what happens at the national level. Collaboration over the borders will create a ripple effect for their national counterparts to ramp up ambition for a Clean Revolution."

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