Québec, California and Ontario Collaborate on Carbon Market


The results of the February 21 greenhouse gas (GHG) emission units auction held jointly with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MEACC) were made public recently. It was the first auction to be held by the three partners since Ontario’s linkage to the Québec-California market, in force as of Jan. 1, 2018.

During the sale, 98,215,920 current vintage emission units were sold at $18.44 CA ($14.61 US), and 8,576,000 2021 vintage emission units went for $18.34 CA ($14.53 US). The sale generated in the order of 193 million Canadian dollars in revenue for Québec. This entire amount will be paid into the Green Fund to finance the measures contained in the 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan, for the benefit of Québec society.

“This auction marks the beginning of a new chapter in the global fight against climate change,” said Mary D. Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board. “California, Quebec, and now Ontario, three ‘sub-nationals’ with a population of 61million and a combined GDP that makes it the fourth largest economy on the planet, have successfully linked their programs to slash climate-changing gases to meet ambitious climate goals. This is another example of forward-looking provinces, states and regions taking effective steps today to address the looming danger of climate change.”

Quick facts: 

  • To date, the carbon market has generated revenue of over 2.2 billion dollars for Québec, all of which is used to support Québec companies, municipalities, institutions and citizens in their transition to a low carbon world.
  • Under the Regulation respecting a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances, emitters covered by the third compliance period, i.e., companies active in the industrial and electricity sectors as well as fossil fuel distributors, have until December 31, 2020, to meet their environmental compliance obligations. The system has been designed to provide them with flexibility in their purchasing strategy. The government will hold three more auctions in 2018.
  • The next auction will take place on Tuesday, May 15, 2018. An official notice will be published on the MDDELCC website 60 days before the auction, as stipulated in the regulation. The registration period will begin on the day the notice is published.
  • Québec aims to reduce its GHG emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 and by 37.5% by 2030, while committing to a reduction of 80 to 95% by 2050, in accordance with the Under2MOU (Memorandum of Understanding). This reduction level is consistent with the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for industrialized countries.

“Faced with this major global challenge of combating climate change, cooperation is essential,” said Isabelle Melançon, Quebec minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change. “The arrival of Ontario in the market, which was already the largest in North America, strengthens its economic and environmental performance, and there’s more to come! Other partners are interested in our carbon market and are considering joining. The carbon market coupled with the numerous initiatives that have been implemented locally to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower the risks and avoid the worst consequences of climate change are promising measures for protecting the environment and the health of our respective economies. This enables us to make concrete progress towards achieving our GHG emission mitigation goal for a new Quebec that is more prosperous, inclusive, and green.”




The 3rd Annual Environmental Leader & Energy Manager Conference takes place May 15 – 17, 2018 in Denver. Learn more here.


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