The past year was an eventful period in the
area of emissions trading and climate change regulation and policy
development and 2012 is showing no signs of slowing down. Globally,
climate change measures are encountering both resistance and
successes as the world's nations struggle to control greenhouse
gas (GHG) emissions. This blog post contains a rundown of some key
stories we see developing in the coming months and which we will
monitor and describe from time to time in this blog.
As described in an earlier blog-post,
Quebec is working toward launching a cap-and-trade system
regulating greenhouse gas emissions. It will be the first Canadian
province to start enforcing cap-and-trade regulations for carbon
emissions. Quebec Environment Minister Pierre Arcand said that from
January 1, 2013 onward the ceiling for allowable emissions will
gradually become stricter.
The California Air Resources
Board has designed a cap-and-trade program which
started implementation activities on January 1, 2012, with an
enforceable compliance obligation beginning in 2013. Currently, the
first auction is scheduled for August 15, 2012. The program is
aiming to bring transportation fuels under the cap by 2015, at
which point 85% of the industry in California will be covered.
California is also working closely with British Columbia, Ontario,
Quebec and Manitoba through the Western Climate
Initiative (WCI) to develop a harmonized
In Europe, the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS) is marching
forward despite resistance from outside the union. The ETS has
recently been validated by a European High Court of Justice (ECJ)
ruling that the inclusion of the aviation industry
in the ETS was valid under international law. The ruling came under
heavy fire from China and United States, which have criticized
Europe's "unilateral" approach and have threatened to
disregard the system or take retaliatory
Australia and New Zealand have revealed plans to link their emissions trading
systems as soon as 2015. Australia plans to move
from a fixed carbon tax to a flexible price mechanism so as to be
compatible with New Zealand's program. The combined scheme
would create the largest emissions trading system outside of
Europe. It would also help to lock-in the system as, once the
systems are linked, it becomes more difficult for either country to
cancel their respective system. This is a particular benefit for
Australia as the carbon tax scheme narrowly passed through the
country's lower house.
Chinese state media reported that the Chinese government has
announced plans to launch a carbon trading
system across seven carbon exchanges by 2013 and
there has also been some talk of using a carbon dioxide tax to
curtail GHGs. The pioneering carbon exchanges are facing some challenges –
such as a lack of technical knowledge but no change in plans has
We will follow these and other initiatives carefully on this
blog and look forward to an interesting year ahead!
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
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...
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).