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Changing Tack: BC NDP Accelerates Increase in Carbon Tax and Moves Away from Revenue Neutrality

Posted in Carbon Tax, Climate Change, Climate Policy, Emissions Regulation
British Columbia

BC’s recently sworn-in New Democratic Party (NDP) government presented its first provincial budget on September 11, 2017. Among the policy measures announced were changes to the BC carbon tax.  In particular, the Budget 2017 Update (2017/18 – 2019/20) provides for the following:

  • As of April 1, 2018, the carbon tax will increase by $5 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year until it reaches the federal target carbon price of $50 on April 1, 2021 (one year before Ottawa’s 2022 deadline). BC’s carbon tax is currently set at $30 per tonne of CO2e.
  • Part 2 of the Carbon
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Cap & Trade 2.0: California Fine Tunes and Extends Cap & Trade Program to 2030

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Policy, Emissions Regulation, Emissions Trading

On July 17, 2017, the California legislature passed legislation to extend the state’s cap-and-trade program to 2030 (the program was originally set to expire in 2020).  Bill AB 398 received broad bi-partisan support and was passed with a two-thirds majority vote, which is the threshold required to pass tax laws in California. With a super-majority vote, California’s cap-and-trade program will be harder to challenge in court, thus providing policy certainty to market participants and partner jurisdictions including Québec and Ontario. AB 398 was accompanied by two bills: (1) AB 617, which seeks to address local air quality concerns by … Continue Reading

Paving the Route to 2050: Canada Releases Mid-Century Strategy for a Clean Growth Economy

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Policy, Electricity, Emissions Regulation, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean

The Paris Climate Change Agreement came into force on November 4, 2016 and as global efforts get underway to implement the agreement, the Canadian federal government continues to craft its strategy to shift Canada to a low-emissions economy. At the recent United Nations climate change conference (COP 22) in Marrakech, Morocco that was held from November 7 – 18, 2016, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change announced Canada’s Mid-Century Long-Term Low-Greenhouse Gas Development Strategy (the Long-Term GHG Strategy) at COP 22, making Canada one‎ of the first countries to do so.… Continue Reading

Renewable Generation Incentives in Alberta Contracts for Differences: the Way Forward?

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Policy, Electricity, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean
Alberta

Last November, the Alberta government released its Climate Leadership Plan, setting out the phase-out of coal-fired electricity generation by 2030, to be replaced with two thirds renewable energy generation and one third natural gas generation.  Then, the Alberta Electric Systems Operator (AESO) was subsequently directed to develop an incentives program for renewable generation.… Continue Reading

Taking the Bull by the Horns: Federal Government Introduces Pan-Canadian Carbon Price and Ratifies Paris Agreement; Paris Agreement to Come into Force in November 2016

Posted in Carbon Tax, Climate Change, Climate Policy, Emissions Regulation, Emissions Trading

The week of October 3, 2016 was an eventful one for Canadian climate change policy as the federal government introduced a pan-Canadian carbon price and ratified the Paris Agreement. Following the federal election in October 2015, indications were that all provinces and territories would be expected to price carbon. This was confirmed on October 3, 2016 when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the federal government will set a minimum price on carbon starting at $10 per tonne of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) in 2018, which will increase by $10 per year until it reaches $50 per tonne … Continue Reading

Target 2050: BC Releases Updated Climate Change Action Plan

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Policy, Emissions Regulation
British Columbia

The BC government released its long awaited Climate Leadership Plan (the Plan) on August 19, 2016. The Plan, which updates the province’s 2008 Climate Action Plan, contains 21 new actions to reduce emissions across the following sectors: (i) natural gas, (ii) transportation, (iii) forestry and agriculture, (iv) communities and built environment, and (v) public sector. The Plan follows the release of the Climate Leadership Team’s report in November 2015. The CLT, which was appointed by the BC government in May 2015 to provide advice for the development of the Plan, made 32 recommendations including, among others, the establishment of … Continue Reading

When the Levy Breaks: Alberta Government Tables the Climate Leadership Implementation Act

Posted in Carbon Tax, Climate Change, Climate Policy, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean
Alberta

On May 24, 2016, Alberta’s provincial government tabled Bill 20 for first reading in the legislature.  Otherwise known as the Climate Leadership Implementation Act (Climate Act), Bill 20 furthers the implementation of the provincial government’s Climate Leadership Plan released in November 2015.

Bill 20 provides for a carbon levy on consumers of fuel, and creates an agency called Energy Efficiency Alberta, as part of the provincial government’s ongoing commitment to climate change policies and initiatives.   Notably absent from Bill 20 are any details on initiatives or incentives for transitioning to renewable energy sources.

More information on this development … Continue Reading

The AESO’s Renewable Electricity Incentive Program Marches Forward

Posted in Climate Policy, Electricity, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Power, Procurement, Utilities
Alberta

As noted in an earlier post, on March 3, 2016, the government announced that the Alberta Electric Systems Operator (AESO) has been chosen under the province’s Climate Leadership Plan to develop and implement a renewable electricity incentive program (Renewable Electricity Program or REP) to add additional renewable generation capacity into Alberta’s electricity system.

The expected timeline of this process is as follows:

Q1-Q2 2016

Phase 1 of stakeholder engagement process closed on March 24, 2016.

May 2016

Provincial government has requested AESO’s draft recommendations on program design.

Q2-Q3 2016

Program development.

Q4 2016

First competition for new REP
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Sign of the Times: 177 Nations (and counting) Ink the Paris Climate Agreement while the World Bank and IMF Push for Carbon Pricing

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Policy, Emissions Regulation, Emissions Trading

As recently reported on our Canadian ERA Perspectives blog, the Paris Agreement was opened for signature on April 22, 2016 at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York. The Paris Agreement, which was adopted by the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) on December 12, 2015, will remain open for signature until April 21, 2017.… Continue Reading

Phasing Out Coal: Alberta Names the Coal Facilitator

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Policy, Coal, Emissions Regulation, Energy – Conventional, Power
Alberta

On March 16, 2016, the Government of Alberta finally named the coal facilitator, and announced the next steps for its plan to phase-out coal by 2030.  The province appointed Terry Boston to act as the province’s independent coal phase-out facilitator, and released details of Boston’s mandate and next steps.

Boston’s Prior Experience

Boston is the recently retired CEO of PJM Interconnection (PJM), which is a regional transmission organization in the United States.  PJM controls approximately 105,502 km of transmission lines and manages 186,000 MW of generation serving 61 million people.… Continue Reading

It’s Official – AESO Requests Stakeholder Feedback on Implementation Plan for Alberta’s Renewable Electricity Program

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Policy, Electricity, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Power, Procurement, Utilities
Alberta

On March 3, 2016, the Government of Alberta took its first step in implementing the Climate Leadership Plan by officially announcing that the Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) has been chosen to develop and implement a renewable electricity incentive program for the procurement of renewable generation capacity by 2030 (Renewable Electricity Program). In delivering this mandate, the Province confirmed:

  • The Renewable Electricity Program will be implemented through a competitive process to keep costs as low as possible;
  • The process is to be carefully managed and will operate in concert with the retirement of coal generating units; and
  • Its
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Focus on Environmental Law, from Canadian Power: Key Developments in 2015/Trends to Watch for in 2016

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Policy, Emissions Regulation

As part of our continuing series of blog posts highlighting specific topics addressed in our publication Canadian Power: Key Developments in 2015 /Trends to Watch for in 2016, we focus here on our analysis of developments and anticipated trends in Environmental Law across the country that will impact the power sector.

The National Power Group at McCarthy Tétrault LLP recently released Canadian Power: Key Developments in 2015 /Trends to Watch for in 2016.  This publication provides an unprecedented overview of the most significant developments in the Canadian power industry and to highlight key trends to watch for.  In … Continue Reading

Looking Ahead at Energy Industry Trends Across Several Provinces

Posted in Carbon Tax, Climate Change, Climate Policy, Electricity, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Power
AlbertaNew BrunswickNova ScotiaSaskatchewan

As we begin this new year, we note that several provinces have recently announced and updated their energy plans, which signal important trends in the energy industry. Below are some of the highlights from such provinces.… Continue Reading

Historic, Durable and Ambitious? UNFCCC Member Nations Adopt the Paris Agreement

Posted in Carbon Tax, Climate Change, Climate Policy, Emissions Regulation, Emissions Trading

The Paris Agreement is a monumental triumph for people and our planet. It sets the stage for progress in ending poverty, strengthening peace and ensuring a life of dignity and opportunity for all.

– United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (December 12, 2015)

On December 12, 2015, after two weeks of marathon negotiations at the United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference in Paris (COP 21), 195 member nations of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – including Canada, the United States, and a number of powerful developing countries including China and India – adopted the Paris Agreement (the … Continue Reading

Policy Considerations when Carbon Taxes Meet Cap-and-Trade

Posted in Carbon Tax, Climate Change, Climate Policy, Emissions Regulation, Emissions Trading
British Columbia

As we recently reported, British Columbia’s (BC) Climate Leadership Team prepared a report setting out 32 recommendations for BC’s climate policy path forward.  Recommendation 29 states that: If the majority of Canadian provinces opt for carbon pricing via emissions trading to cover greenhouse gases from large final emitters, a review should be undertaken of mechanisms to integrate a carbon tax with a cap and trade framework for the BC context.

According to the World Bank, approximately 40 national and 20 sub-national jurisdictions have put a price on carbon dioxide (CO2) using carbon taxes or cap-and-trade … Continue Reading

Navigating the Paris Climate Talks: Understanding the Policy Drivers and Mastering the Climate Lingo

Posted in Carbon Tax, Climate Change, Climate Policy, Emissions Regulation, Emissions Trading

Setting the Stage

This week, all eyes are on Paris as world leaders converged on the French capital in a multi-national effort to forge a new global climate change agreement. As negotiators now turn their focus on transforming the climate rhetoric into legal text, climate change is back in the global spotlight.  Over the years, climate change policy has experienced its ebbs and flows. Climate change arrived on the international stage at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, where 154 countries signed the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to stabilize atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions … Continue Reading

Climate Leadership Team Makes 32 Recommendations for Updating BC’s Climate Change Policies

Posted in Carbon Tax, Climate Change, Climate Policy, Emissions Regulation
British Columbia

As reported in our earlier blog, British Columbia (BC) Premier Christy Clark appointed a Climate Leadership Team in May 2015 to provide advice and recommendations to government for its new Climate Leadership Plan.  The Climate Leadership Team’s mandate was based on four cornerstone objectives: (i) achieving BC’s legislated GHG emission reduction targets; (ii) maintaining a strong economy; (iii) mitigating negative impacts on vulnerable populations; and (iv) maintaining BC’s reputation for world-leading climate policies.

Following extensive stakeholder consultations throughout the summer, the Climate Leadership Team prepared a report that was released by the BC government on November 27, 2015, in … Continue Reading

A More Detailed Look: Proposed Options for Ontario’s Cap-and-Trade Program

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Policy, Emissions Regulation, Emissions Trading
Ontario

As noted in our earlier posting, the Ontario government announced in April 2015 that it would implement a cap and trade program that would eventually be linked with the existing cap and trade systems in Québec and California.  Following extensive public consultations over the summer, Ontario has released its Cap and Trade Program Design Options paper, which is open for public comment until December 16, 2015. As part of the current consultation process, the Ontario government is seeking input on various elements of the program design including timing, scope of the program, caps on greenhouse gas emissions, allowance distribution, … Continue Reading

On the heels of Cap & Trade Consultation Paper, Ontario releases Climate Change Strategy

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Policy, Emissions Regulation
Ontario

Ontario’s climate change policy continues to evolve. In February 2015, Ontario released a Climate Change Discussion Paper to help frame the issues for public consultation and in April 2015, it was announced that Ontario would implement a cap and trade program that would link to the existing cap and trade systems in Québec and California.

On the heels of the release of its recent Cap and Trade Program Design Options consultation paper, the Ontario government introduced the province’s Climate Change Strategy on November 24, 2015. The strategy, which is what Ontario will present to the world at the international climate … Continue Reading

At Last: Alberta Unveils its New Climate Leadership Plan

Posted in Carbon Tax, Climate Change, Climate Policy, Coal, Electricity, Emissions Regulation, Energy – Conventional, Energy – Renewable, Alternative and Clean, Power
Alberta

On November 22, 2015, Alberta released its long-awaited Climate Leadership Plan (Climate Plan).  Contemporaneously with the Climate Plan, the Government released the Climate Change Advisory Panel’s (Climate Panel) Report to the Minister, Climate Leadership. As background, previous blogs on the Climate Panel’s mandate and the Climate Leadership Discussion Document can be found here and here.… Continue Reading

Conversation Starters: Alberta Releases Climate Change Discussion Document

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Policy
Alberta

On August 14, 2015, Alberta Environment and Parks released its Climate Leadership Discussion Document (Discussion Document) as part of the province’s ongoing efforts to design a comprehensive action plan on climate change. As discussed in our earlier blog, the Alberta government announced in June 2015 that it was taking steps to achieve real, demonstrable reductions in the province’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by tightening its existing GHG regulation, the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation and appointing an advisory panel (Advisory Panel) to undertake a comprehensive review of Alberta’s climate change policy.… Continue Reading

Alberta Takes Two Meaningful Steps Towards Renewing its Climate Change Policy

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Policy
Alberta

As Alberta’s new provincial government looks to assert itself as a leader on climate change issues, it recently announced that it is taking meaningful steps to achieve real, demonstrable reductions in the province’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In addition, Premier Rachel Notley has made it clear that she expects to have a long-term climate change strategy in place for the province before she travels to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) starting in Paris on November 30, 2015. To that end, Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Parks, Shannon Phillips, announced on June 25, 2015 that the … Continue Reading

New Climate Leadership Team Tasked with Updating BC Climate Action Plan

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Policy
British Columbia

On May 12, 2015, British Columbia (BC) Premier Christy Clark introduced a Climate Leadership Team that has been tasked with developing a Climate Leadership Plan, which will update and build on the province’s current Climate Action Plan. Chaired by Mike Bernier, Member of the BC Legislative Assembly, the Climate Leadership Team consists of 23 members who are drawn from a diverse range of academic, community, business, environmental, and Aboriginal groups. These groups include Simon Fraser University and the University of British Columbia, several municipalities, the Council of Forest Industries, BC LNG Alliance, Clean Energy Canada, the Pembina Institute and … Continue Reading

Ontario Introduces Cap & Trade System

Posted in Climate Change, Climate Policy, Emissions Regulation, Emissions Trading
Ontario

On April 13, 2015, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that Ontario would implement a cap and trade system aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the province. Ontario has committed to imposing a hard cap on pollution for each sector of the economy.

A cap and trade system, in general, places a limit on the amount of greenhouse gas emissions that may be produced in a specified time frame. As time progresses, this limit is reduced as per previously established guidelines. Businesses must hold enough emission allowances in order to equal their actual greenhouse gas emissions. If a business does not … Continue Reading