In late September 2013, California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) and the government of Quebec signed an agreement to harmonize and integrate their cap-and-trade programs for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. California’s GHG programs under AB 32 will be officially linked with Quebec’s programs beginning January 1, 2014.
The agreement sets out the following intended outcomes:
Harmonization and compatibility of regulations for mandatory GHG reporting and cap-and-trade programs
Equivalence and interchangeability of compliance instruments for the cap-and-trade programs
A common, secure registry to allow transfer and exchange of compliance instruments between cap-and-trade program registrants
Compatible market regulations that are applied and enforced for all participants in the cap-and-trade programs
Joint auctions of California emission allowances and Quebec emission units
Information sharing for effective analysis, operation, enforcement and supervision of the cap-and-trade programs.
Administrative and technical support will be coordinated through the Western Climate Initiative, Inc. (WCI, Inc.), which is a non-profit organization created to perform these functions. The WCI, Inc. board of directors currently includes officials from the State of California, the Province of Quebec, and the Province of British Columbia. These jurisdictions, along with Ontario and Manitoba, continue to work together through the Western Climate Initiative to develop and harmonize their policies for GHG emissions trading.
The agreement also establishes a Consultation Committee, with representatives from California’s ARB and Quebec, to facilitate the harmonization and integration process. The designated representative for ARB is the ARB’s Executive Officer, and the designated representative of the Province of Quebec is the Assistant Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Air and Water at the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks (Ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs). The committee will monitor implementation measures and report results annually in light of the objectives set.
STP has recently updated Environmental Compliance in California: The Simplified Guide and also publishes the following related guide: