Quebec and Ontario have agreed to work to more closely link their carbon markets, including harmonising their rules and collaborating to develop common offset protocols, the Canadian provinces announced on Friday.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard signed an MOU as part of a series of agreements struck during a joint meeting of cabinet ministers in Quebec City, which also included increasing energy trade between the two provinces.
Wynne announced earlier this year that Ontario would design an emissions trading scheme to help it cut its GHG emissions by 37% below 1990 levels by 2030, and link it to existing markets in Quebec and California.
The neighbouring provinces agreed to collaborate over the implementation of the Ontario scheme, including harmonising the regulations needed to link it with Quebec’s and developing common protocols for carbon offsets to slash ETS compliance costs while spurring more companies to cut their CO2.
Quebec’s ETS allows participants to use offsets to meet 8% of their compliance obligations.
The MOU aims to build on Quebec’s offset programme, potentially extending it to renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives across the two provinces.
“If Ontario and Quebec did this separately, it would create more complexity and it would cost twice as much … There are economies of scale,” Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray told the Globe and Mail newspaper.
His Quebec counterpart David Heurtel added that the partnership will aim to ensure any offsets are additional and have a high level of environmental integrity.
Quebec’s programme already has offset protocols for projects that cut methane from agricultural manure and landfills, and ozone-depleting substances (ODS) contained in insulating foam or used in refrigeration, freezer and air conditioning appliances.
One ODS project and four landfill methane installations have been approved by the province to date, according to a government website.
Quebec is also currently developing rules for coal mine methane, forestation and reforestation projects. Those protocols are expected to be put up for public consultation this year.
The MOU also included drawing up joint measures to support an increase in the use of electric and zero-emission vehicles and continuing to deploy low-carbon technology in the two provinces.
The two premiers also pledged to promote Ontario and Québec’s leadership within Canada and internationally, including at the UN climate summit in Paris this winter
Both premiers said they would attend COP-21, participating in a day set aside for federated state governments to promote their efforts to curb runaway climate change.
By Mike Szabo – firstname.lastname@example.org