California tables new cap-and-trade plan that jumps ahead of Quebec and Ontario

California jumps over Quebec with carbon plan

MONTREAL — California’s Senate proposed a new and more ambitious carbon credit cap-and-trade system this week, challenging Ontario and Quebec to do the same or get left behind.

Quebec and California have a linked carbon credit market that expires at the end of 2020. Ontario held its first carbon credit auction in March and intends to link to the California-Quebec system in 2018.

Both provinces, however, will need to adapt to California’s proposed reforms if they want to continue working with the state after 2020, said Jessica Green, professor of environmental studies at New York University.

“It’s a big change,” she said Wednesday in an interview about California’s new bill. “It’s a decisive statement that’s saying: ‘If you want to play with us, you have to play by our rules and those rules are getting stronger all the time.'”

The new California plan provides for an increase in the minimum price for one ton of carbon dioxide or equivalent greenhouse gas to US$20 and creates a ceiling of US$30. Every year the minimum price would increase by US$5 and the ceiling by US$10.

The current market price for a ton of carbon equivalent is US$13.50.

Carbon offsets would no longer be permitted in the new bill and companies that emit greenhouse gases would need to purchase new credits every year.

Moreover, the new plan eliminates the possibility of acquiring free carbon credits.

A cap-and-trade system for carbon credits allows companies to purchase the right to emit greenhouse gasses.

In Quebec, all businesses that emit 25,000 metric tons a year of carbon dioxide or its equivalent have to comply with the system, except fossil fuel companies, which are only scheduled to comply starting in 2018.

Quebec currently holds joint auctions with California every quarter and the province has delegated the administration of them to California’s regulator.

“It’s an identical system right now,” said Danny Cullenward, an energy economist and lawyer who advised the California Senate on the bill.

He said Quebec and Ontario will still be allowed to link to California’s new plan, but the provinces will have to match the minimum carbon credit price floor.

“If somebody wants to link to this new market they have to have a comparable minimum carbon price,” he said in an interview. “It would be a terrible idea if we set up an ambitious climate plan and we linked to a partner that was not all that ambitious.”

Gary Wheeler, spokesman for the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, said in an email that the proposal is one of several early drafts put forward by different California state senators.

“None have gone through the legislative process and there are significant discussions that need to happen before anything is finalized,” Wheeler said.

He said Ontario is committed to partnering with Quebec and California “and we will all be working together to determine the most responsible, effective way to keep lowering emissions in the next period after 2020.”

Representatives from the Quebec government did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

If passed by California legislators, the new system would begin in January 2021, but there is no guarantee it will be adopted, Cullenward said.

“It’s too soon to tell, and (passing the bill) will be a significant lift, but there are positive signs,” he said.

Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press

Canadian Press

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

.
LETTER: People must change their actions to slow global warming, Langley student writes

Grade 7 students at Gordon Greenwood Elementary were tasked with writing about climate change.

.
LETTER: Glaciers disappearing faster than in previous decades, Langley student writes

Grade 7 students at Gordon Greenwood Elementary were tasked with writing about climate change.

Prince Philip and then Princess Elizabeth – then married only four years and heir to the throne – waved to thousands who gathered in Fort Langley in Oct. 26, 1951 to see the royal couple. (Langley Centennial Museum archives/Special to Langley Advance Times)
Langleyites bid adieu to Prince Philip

Local historians and the Trinity Western University president share thoughts and memories

President of the West Coast Fine Arts Show, Brian Croft, said pandemic restrictions necessitated a shift to an entirely online event this year, running until April 30. (File photo)
The West Fine Art Show shifts to an online-only event amid tighter health orders

Website version retains the flavour of the annual live exhibition

Keith Gibson of Preston GM with a Chevrolet Bolt. Electric cars made up almost 10 per cent of new light vehicle sales in B.C. last year, the government says. (Matthew Claxton/Langley Advance Times)
More electric cars, charging stations coming to Langley

Car dealers and local governments are prepping for an EV future

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Buckingham Palace officials say Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, has died. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Alastair Grant
Flags drop, bells toll as Canadians remember special relationship with Prince Philip

‘He was often portrayed as a brisk or brusque, rough character… but it’s that other side of him, the caring individual who spent time with people and asked questions and showed compassion’

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

British Columbia Attorney General David Eby. (Photo: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Attorney General covers housing, homelessness and justice reform in Surrey Zoom

‘I think it would be really great to hold some sessions in Surrey,’ Eby says of legislative assembly

(File photo)
Youths confront man seen masturbating while walking his dog

Police say it happened Thursday (April 8) on walking path in Surrey

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed on April 4, according to a statement from police. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police name victim following city’s fourth homicide of 2021

Robinson Russ, 37, was fatally stabbed Sunday in the Downtown Eastside

Most Read