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Ontario to Join Quebec-California Cap and Trade System, Sources Say

Ontario is planning to join Quebec and California in a carbon cap and trade system that will cover more than 60% of Canada’s population and create a market of more than 61 million people, unnamed sources told the Globe and Mail last week.

“Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray is expected to present the plan to cabinet for approval within the next 10 days,” the Globe reports. “It is believed to have widespread support among ministers already.”

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Canada’s largest province is expected to unveil the broad outlines of the program April 13, during an interprovincial climate summit in Quebec City. It would raise $1 to $2 billion per year that could be reinvested in energy retrofits, transit, or other low- or zero-carbon initiatives.

“Ontario’s sheer size means its move toward carbon pricing has the potential to do more than any other program in Canada to slash emissions,” Morrow, Taber, and Silcoff write. “The province’s selection of cap-and-trade will also make it the dominant carbon-pricing system in the country, covering more than half of the nation’s economic output.”

Ontario favours cap and trade over a simpler carbon tax because it “allows the governing Liberals to keep the word ‘tax’ out of the system’s name and, as the favoured policy of the NDP, could win support on the political left,” the Globe explains. “It also allows government to set a hard cap on emissions—something that may prove necessary if the province is to meet its goal of cutting emissions to 15% below 1990 levels in five years.” (h/t to today’s Clean Energy Review [2] for pointing us to this story)