In the absence of recent activity at the federal government level, Canadian provinces continue to take the lead on climate change initiatives. In late November, Canada’s two most populous provinces, Ontario and Quebec, issued a Memorandum of Understanding in which they agreed to collaborate on “concerted climate change actions” said to include harmonizing data collection and GHG reporting requirements, exploring the use of market based mechanisms in Ontario, sharing knowledge and promoting the transition to a low carbon economy through initiatives such as setting a price on carbon and adopting cleaner fuel standards. The MOU also says the two provinces will strengthen joint efforts to increase collaboration with the government of Canada and provincial and territorial governments. The MOU specifically states that it does not create legally binding obligations on Ontario and Quebec and it may be terminated by either province on two months’ notice.
In early December, on the eve of the COP20 negotiations in Lima, the governments of Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, together with the government of California, United States issued a “Joint Statement on Climate Change” in which they stated they will collaborate on mid-term greenhouse gas emissions reductions to maintain momentum toward 2050 targets. Ontario also announced that this year it will release a comprehensive action plan to reduce emissions.
Meanwhile in Alberta, the government has just extended the Specified Gas Emitters Regulation to the end of June 2015. The regulation has been in place since 2007 and provides the framework for requiring the reduction of GHG emissions intensity levels from large industrial emitters. In addition to being necessary to maintain the regulatory framework, the extension was said to “ensure the smooth transition from the current strategy to the new framework expected be in place in the new year”. Alberta says it is currently “exploring options to address climate change”. No indications have been given as to what those options include.