Quebec keen to link carbon market to New York

Published 16:25 on November 15, 2015  /  Last updated at 16:25 on November 15, 2015  /  Americas, Canada, US  /  No Comments

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is eager to forge a cooperation on market-based climate change policy between his province and New York state, even though the two jurisdictions are part of different carbon markets.

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard is eager to forge a cooperation on market-based climate change policy between his province and New York state, even though the two jurisdictions are part of different carbon markets.

New York would be an “ideal partner” for Quebec in terms of joint carbon pricing initiatives, particularly an emissions market, Couillard said Friday at the New England-Canada Energy Conference in Boston, which was organised by the New England-Canada Business Council.

Couillard referenced New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s announcement last month that he had ordered state agencies to explore a potential linkage between RGGI, of which New York is a member, and WCI, which governs Quebec and California’s markets and soon Ontario’s, plus ways of bringing other states and provinces into an expanded North American carbon market.

“We are ready at any moment to start working on this,” Couillard said of a potential market link to New York, with which the province shares some of its southern border.

A potential sticking point is that RGGI regulates only emissions from the power sectors of its nine US state members, while WCI covers transport and some commercial and residential fuel use, as well as electricity.

Although the province shares electricity transmission with RGGI states, Quebec’s entirely hydro-based power sector makes participation in RGGI pointless in terms of emission reductions.

But Couillard said New York should join the Quebec-California-Ontario market, which sources close to the premier told Carbon Pulse could be possible if the state keeps its power sector in RGGI but commits other sectors to WCI.

Such a move could target New York’s transportation sector, which accounts for about a third of the state’s GHG output, while residential and commercial fuel, representing a further 10%, could also be included.

Recognising that around 45% of Quebec’s emissions come from transport, Couillard said most of its carbon allowance auction revenues go toward a province-wide electrification action plan that includes manufacturing electric vehicles, including school buses and delivery trucks.

Observers noted that New York, with a population 2.5 times the size of Quebec’s roughly 8.2 million, could become a major customer for such products should the state decide to tackle its transport emissions.

By Lisa Zelljadt – news@carbon-pulse.com

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