Quebec and California hold first joint auction on greenhouse gases

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28 November 2014

NEW YORK: The North American regions of Québec and California held their first joint greenhouse gases (GHG) emission allowances auction this week.

This is the first joint bid since the Canadian province and US state, both members of The Climate Group States & Regions, linked their cap-and-trade markets on January 1, 2014, creating the first cross border market in North America.

The move was part of the Western Climate Initiative's regional carbon market, which is now the largest of its kind in North America.

In total, more than 23 million units for 2014 and almost 11 million units for 2017 were put up for sale on Tuesday, at a minimum price of CAD$12,82 (USD$11,34). The results of the auction will be available on the Quebec’s Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change website on December 3.

The Government of Québec called the emission allowances auction “a success”. It is the last step in the harmonization of the two carbon markets, which started at the beginning of the year. “With this first joint auction between California and Québec, we are continuing our transition to a strong, innovative, low carbon economy,” said David Heurtel, Québec’s Minister for Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change.

Matt Rodriquez, California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection, described the agreement between Québec and California as “a model for others to emulate, not only in North America, but throughout the world.”

David Heurtel and Matt Rodriquez will both represent their governments at The Climate Group States & Regions General Assembly next month in Lima, Peru, during the UNFCCC COP20 Climate Conference.

Québec started its carbon scheme in 2013, with 75 companies producing over 25,000 tons of GHG every year, beginning to cut their GHGs to help lower the province’s emissions. By 2015, Québec’s carbon market is expected to cover 85% of the province’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Québec also announced this week a joint agreement with Ontario, another valuable member of The Climate Group States & Regions program, to exchange electricity capacity and help keep power affordable and reliable for people in both provinces. Earlier in September, the two most populous provinces of Canada also publicly agreed to bold initiatives to address climate change at the sub-national government level.

"It is extremely exciting for us to see three long term members of The Climate Group States & Regions Alliance continuing to demonstrate the leadership on climate change that has characterised their government for many years," underlines Mark KenberCEOThe Climate Group. "I would like to congratulate Governor Brown, Premier Couillard and Lieutenant Governor Dowdeswell for the inspiration they and their governments provide to all of us who believe that the rapid transition to a low carbon economy is not only good for the global environment but also for economic development and improved quality of life. As negotiators begin their work in Lima next week, the actions of subnational governments like California, Quebec and Ontario should give them confidence to be bold and set us all on a path to low carbon prosperity".

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