After years of consideration, Ontario has introduced Bill 172,
Climate Change Mitigation and Low-Carbon Economy Act,
2016, and released a draft regulation for Ontario's carbon
cap-and-trade program. This is the first step toward Ontario
joining the Québec-California carbon market.
The Ontario regime proposes provincial targets for the reduction
of carbon emissions and would require regulated emitters to take
direct action or participate in the trading market to reduce their
emissions. Subject industries include those with annual emissions
above 25,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalent, natural gas
distributors, electricity importers and petroleum suppliers.
Compliance obligations would start in 2017, with the first
compliance period running until December 31, 2020. Although free
allowances would be distributed initially at levels comparable to
current emissions, regulated entities would gradually be required
to reduce emissions, purchase allowances from the government or
seek allowances or credits in the carbon market.
Ontario's regime has been developed using the Western
Climate Initiative model in order to facilitate future linkages
with member jurisdictions, such as Québec and California. As
in those jurisdictions, offset credits may be generated by
voluntary reductions outside the regulated sector and may be used
to cover up to 8% of a regulated emitter's compliance
obligations. A separate regulation regarding the offset program
will be released later this year, but Ontario is expected to follow
Québec and California in recognizing offset protocols
involving methane, landfill gas and ozone-depleting substances.
Ontario's regime provides for an auction floor price of
C$14/tonne in 2017, compared with the trading price of C$17.64 in
the most recently held Québec-California auction.
It is estimated that carbon trading in Ontario will generate
approximately C$1.9 billion in 2017, to be used in initiatives such
as renewable and alternative energy sources, transportation and
infrastructure, energy management technologies and development of
Ontario's announcement comes just in time for the First
Ministers' meeting on March 3, 2016, which will focus on laying
the foundation of a national climate strategy. This strategy is
intended to permit Canada to set new targets consistent with the
Paris Agreement, which aims to limit global warming to 2 degrees
Celsius above preindustrial levels, with an aspirational goal of
1.5 degrees above. In the face of Canada's sobering carbon
emission projections and patchwork of provincial approaches, the
federal government has a significant challenge to establish a
national carbon pricing standard.
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...
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.
In June, 2016, Justice Faieta of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice awarded damages of $57,712.31 plus interest against legal counsel who failed to file a claim within the required limitation period.
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