In response to last week's United Nations Climate Summit
in New York, Canada and Ontario announced progress in greenhouse
gas reduction initiatives. Specifically, the federal government
announced regulatory developments to bring permissible greenhouse
gas emissions from light vehicles and sulphur content in gasoline
in line with U.S. Tier 3 standards. Canada also announced that it
will be developing regulations for hydrofluorocarbons that will
align with recently proposed U.S. regulations. Meanwhile, Ontario
announced a new strategy to meet greenhouse gas reduction
Canada Harmonizes With the U.S.
The Canadian government announced developments on four new
regulatory initiatives to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from
vehicles. On September 27, Canada published proposed amendments to
the On-Road Vehicle and Engine Emission Regulations and
the Sulphur in Gasoline Regulations. The amendments will
bring Canada's permissible levels of emissions from light
vehicles and sulphur content in gasoline in line with U.S. Tier 3
standards. Canada will also publish the finalized Regulations
Amending the Passenger Automobile and Light Truck Greenhouse Gas
Emission Regulations on October 8, 2014. The government also
announced intentions to further regulate fuel efficiency for
post-2018 model year heavy-duty vehicles.
As part of Canada's National Statement at the United Nations
Climate Summit, Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq announced that
Canada will publish a Notice of Intent to regulate
hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The objective is to reduce and limit
these potent GHG emissions. If left unregulated, HFCs are expected
to increase substantially in the next 10 to 15 years. The Notice of
Intent will outline the proposed scope of the regulatory measures
for HFCs and timelines for stakeholder consultations. The
regulations will align with recently proposed U.S. regulations on
HFCs are not manufactured in Canada, but are imported in bulk
and are used in manufactured products such as refrigerators,
air-conditioning units and insulation for foam products.
Ontario's Proposed Strategy
Ontario's Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change
(MOECC) launched a new strategy to meet its GHG reduction targets.
The MOECC plans to
achieve 2020 and 2050 GHG reduction
work with Quebec to push for greater
climate change prominence in the Canadian Energy Strategy, and
ensure that such efforts are
integrated in the policies of other Ontario ministries.
Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne also released a mandate letter on
September 25, 2014, directing the MOECC to lead Ontario's
development of a long term climate change strategy. The letter
urges Minister Glen Murray to actively engage the public and
stakeholders in dialogue on climate change. It also instructs the
Minister to ensure that climate change is considered in the
government decision-making process, including policies for GHG
impact analyses and public infrastructure investments. The letter
mandates the MOECC to develop new alternative fuel rules in 2014
that will help energy-intensive industries reduce their GHG
International Lawyers Speak Out
In a landmark report released on September 22, 2014, the
International Bar Association (IBA) called for an international
court on the environment that would deal with climate change
disputes. The report's other key recommendations include
recognizing a universal right to a sustainable environment and
establishing a cumulative carbon budget in the United Nations (UN)
Climate Change Multilateral Framework.
The Public Speaks Out
More than 300,000 people took part in the People's Climate
March on September 21, 2014 in New York – the single largest
climate protest in history. The march launched the UN Summit, which
was organized, in part, to prepare for a critical climate change
meeting in Lima, Peru, in December 2014, followed by an ultimate
meeting in December 2015 in Paris. Governments and businesses made
encouraging, albeit non-binding, declarations on matters such as
deforestation, carbon pollution, renewable energy and methane leaks
from oil and gas production.
Willms & Shier is preparing an article on the state of
climate change initiatives in Canada and what we can expect in the
short to medium term from different levels of government and
Giselle Davidian, student-at-law assisted in the preparation
of this article.
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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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