As our readers know, we have been following the cap-and-trade regulations both domestically and abroad. Quebec recently joined California in adopting a cap-and-trade regulation for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission allowances based on the rules established by the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). WCI is a collaboration of independent jurisdictions, including California, working together to “identify, evaluate and implement emissions trading policies to tackle climate change at a regional level.” Quebec joined WCI in April 2008.
The aim of the regulation is a 20% reduction in emissions below 1990 levels by 2020. Quebec is the first Canadian partner of WCI to adopt its cap-and-trade regulation. The adoption comes closely after California’s October 20, 2011 adoption of the final regulation for its cap-and-trade program.
Commencing January 1, 2012, the first year of Quebec’s program will be a transition year to allow emitters and participants to familiarize themselves with the program. The capping and reduction of GHG emissions will officially start on January 1, 2013 and apply primarily to industrial and electricity sectors. Quebec’s Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks touted the adoption of the regulation as allowing Quebec to acquire “the means to achieve the transition toward a green, sustainable and prosperous economy.”
Not surprisingly, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) applauded Quebec’s adoption of the regulation. CARB Chairman Mary D. Nichols stated that it’s a “great example of provinces and states moving forward despite a lack of action at the national level.” The adoption of Quebec’s cap-and-trade regulation furthers the efforts of the WCI toward reducing GHG emissions.