While the federal government meets with world leaders at the
2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris, a number of
provincial governments have introduced new policies and
recommendations to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in their
own jurisdictions. British Columbia and Quebec recently joined
Ontario and Alberta with the publication of new provincial policies
and recommendations on new GHG targets and GHG reduction measures.
What remains to be seen is how these new policies and
recommendations will be reconciled with international commitments
that may be made by the federal government later this week.
CLIMATE LEADERSHIP TEAM MAKES RECOMMENDATIONS FOR NEW POLICIES
In April 2015, B.C. Premier Christy Clark created a Climate
Leadership Team (CLT) to assist the government in moving its
climate agenda forward. On November 27, 2015, the CLT released its
final report. This report contains 32
recommendations for consideration by the provincial government and
focuses largely on carbon pricing and measures to reduce emissions.
Some recommendations of particular note include:
Increasing the rate of the existing
carbon tax by C$10/year per tonne, commencing in July 2018. There
are no recommendations for when the increases should end or how
high the tax rate should ultimately go.
Expanding the scope of the carbon tax
to apply to all GHG emission sources, including non-combustion
sources (e.g., fugitive emissions from pipelines and process
emissions from industrial plants).
Implementing targeted measures to
protect emissions-intensive, trade-exposed sectors.
Establishing sector-specific GHG
reduction goals for the transportation, industrial and built
Lowering the provincial sales tax
from seven to six per cent, to provide relief for consumers for
increased costs arising from the program, in particular, the rising
rates of the carbon tax.
The B.C. government has indicated it intends to begin public
consultations on the next phase of the Climate Leadership Plan in
QUEBEC ANNOUNCES NEW GHG TARGETS
Also on November 27, Quebec's Minister of Sustainable
Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change,
David Heurtel, announced the provincial government's GHG
emissions reduction target of 37.5 per cent below 1990 levels by
2030. The target is aligned with the commitment the province made
alongside the 10 other partners of the Conference of New England
Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers to reach a regional GHG
emissions reduction target of 35–45 per cent below 1990
levels by 2030. Quebec was successful in reducing its GHG emissions
by eight per cent below 1990 levels in 2012.
Quebec has been working towards the target of 20 per cent
reductions below 1990 levels by 2020 and adopted a cap-and-trade
system, which has been in force since January 2013, in order to
achieve this goal. The deadline for companies to cover their
emissions for the first compliance period was in early November and
the Minister confirmed that all emitters subject to the system
covered their emissions. Revenues generated through the carbon
market are paid into the Quebec's Green Fund to finance the
implementation of the Government's Climate Change Action
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