As Canada announced its withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol in
late December, 2011 and amid much discussion about the future of
Canadian climate policy, January 1, 2012 marked the coming into
force of Quebec's Regulation respecting the cap-and-trade
system for greenhouse gas emissions. British Columbia, Ontario
and Manitoba, who along with Quebec are all members of the Western
Climate Initiative (WCI), have all announced plans to introduce cap
and trade programs (and are currently at different stages of
legislative progress on these promises), but Quebec continues to
lead on implementation and will almost surely become the first
province with an enforced cap-and-trade program.
Designed to integrate with California's implementation of a
cap-and-trade program under the WCI, the first year of the program
is 'transitional', giving emitters an opportunity to
familiarize themselves with the system and buy and sell greenhouse
gas emission credits voluntarily, before emission caps come into
effect on January 1, 2013. As of next year, approximately 75
industrial and electrical sector entities who emit at least 25
thousand tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent greenhouse gases
annually will be bound by the new caps on total emissions. In 2015
additional parties involved in the fuel importation or distribution
sector will become subject to the caps. If these parties are unable
to reduce their emissions to the prescribed cap, they may purchase
the credits necessary to cover their excess. Conversely, companies
who reduce emissions below the cap will be able to sell credits
through the system.
Companies who emit in excess of the cap and fail to procure the
required additional credits, or otherwise violate the regulation
may face a number of administrative sanctions or a fine of up to
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guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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