Ontario makes carbon agreement with Quebec and California

Published: September 24, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and California Governor Jerry Brown have announced a joint environment agreement. The collaboration will see the carbon markets of Canada’s two provinces and the U.S. state.

Couillard met with Wynne and Brown in Quebec City on Friday. The agreement will synchronize the emissions cap programs of the three regions. It means Ontario formally enters the existing Quebec-California carbon market, which will start Jan. 1, 2018. In a press release, the Ontario Office of the Premier says the agreement allows the three governments to auction greenhouse gas emission allowances and to harmonize regulations.

“By linking their respective systems that charge polluters to emit carbon dioxide, Ontario, Quebec, and California stand to reduce their carbon emissions at low cost,” Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, Catherine McKenna, said in the statement. “They are demonstrating the advantages of interprovincial and international cooperation in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

She added that “providing price incentives to reduce carbon emissions is a proven and effective strategy. It stimulates innovation; it encourages businesses to reduce emissions; and it makes sense for their bottom line. This agreement will help ensure Canadian and American workers and companies participate fully in the emerging clean economy.”

The government’s participating in the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) carbon markets will expand what is already the largest carbon market in North America. It is also the only market that is developed and maintained by governments across two nations. 60 million people live in the WCI regions and the two provinces and state has US$4 trillion GDP.

Only the European Union is a larger carbon market-linking agreement.  “We are stronger together, and by linking our three carbon markets, we will achieve even greater reductions at the lowest cost,” McKenna said.