Canada's federal climate change strategy is on hold until
the Americans firm up their own intentions. So you should know that
U.S. Senators John Kerry and Joe Lieberman are taking a third and
likely final crack at pushing greenhouse gas emission cuts, backed
by a cap-and-trade system, through a fractious Senate. Released May
12, 2010, the omnibus American Power Act promises to cut
CO2 emissions 17% below 2005 levels by the year 2020 and 80% by
The Bill is seen as a compromise between the American Clean
Energy and Security Act (the socalled Waxman-Markey Bill),
passed by the House on June 26, 2009, and President Obama's
energy proposals. However, political observers rate the chances of
the Bill's success as no better than 'even money'.
The Bill would impose the cap-and-trade system only on major
emitters, like coal-fired power plants, while exempting farmers and
most small and medium-sized industry. Just those facilities that
produce more than 25,000 tons of carbon pollution annually
– about 7,500 factories and power plants – must
comply with reduction targets. Producers and importers of refined
products will not participate in the carbon market, but will
purchase allowances at a fixed price from the allowance
The Bill would implement a "hard price collar" to bind
carbon prices, which would rise at a fixed rate over inflation. An
introductory floor price would be set at $(US)12 a ton, increasing
at 3% over inflation annually, with a ceiling price set at $25 and
increasing at 5% over inflation. Individual states would not be
permitted to operate their own cap-and-trade programs for
greenhouse gases; those that are, will have them shut down and will
Two previous versions of the Kerry-Lieberman legislation failed
to garner adequate support. Will the third time prove a charm? On
the up side, the drafters have tried to provide something for
everyone. There are loan guarantees, risk insurance and other
incentives for nuclear power, two billion dollars a year for clean
coal and carbon storing technology, seven billion for highways and
mass transit, incentives for converting trucks and heavy duty
vehicles to natural gas, even relaxed rules for offshore drilling
(probably a tougher sell at the present than they hoped).
On the down side, the bill is being forced to join the queue
behind a major Senate debate on immigration. It might even get
pushed back beyond the scheduled mid-term elections. And if the
Democrats lose their tenuous control of the Senate, then all bets
In any event, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency insists
that if all efforts of Congress fail, the authority will begin the
regulation of greenhouse gases on its own. We will keep on top of
this story and alert you to any new developments.
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change continues to roll out its Climate Change Action Plan with its proposed GHG guide for projects that are subject to the province's Environmental Assessment Act.
The Imperial Oil refinery pled guilty to one offence for discharging a contaminant, coker stabilizer, thermocracked gas, into the natural environment causing an adverse effect and was fined $650,000...
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