Québec’s cap-and-trade system: Emitters cautiously testing the waters

Vol. 45 No. 5

Charles Kazaz is a partner practicing environmental law with Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Montreal and Toronto. Anne-Catherine Boucher is an associate practicing environmental law with Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Montreal.

Québec’s GHG reduction efforts

The province of Québec has been at the forefront of policy and legislative efforts to control greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Québec has adhered to the principles of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change since 1992 and has consistently implemented policies and action plans aimed at reducing GHG emissions in the province. Following its adoption of the Kyoto Protocol, the Québec government has confirmed on several occasions by way of parliamentary motions and government decrees that Québec would adhere to the Kyoto Protocol’s principles and objectives. In 2009, the government adopted Decree 1187-2009 setting its GHG emission reduction target for 2020 at 20 percent below 1990 levels and when Canada, as a nation, formally withdrew from the Kyoto Protocol in 2011, the Québec legislative assembly unanimously adopted a motion reaffirming Québec’s commitment to the Kyoto Protocol target. According to the latest annual inventory of GHG emissions (Québec Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2010 and Their Evolution Since 1990, Government of Québec, 2013), published by Québec’s Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks, the province’s GHG emissions in 2010 totaled 82.5 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents (Mt CO2e). This marked the second consecutive year GHG emissions were below 1990 levels. Moreover, Québec’s per capita GHG emissions were 10.4 t CO2e in 2010, compared to the Canadian average of 20.3 t CO2e.

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