As hopes for near-term federal climate change legislation in either Canada or the United States dim, the government of Ontario appears to be preparing itself to participate in the regional cap and trade system proposed by the Western Climate Initiative ("WCI"). As part of this preparation, Ontario is proposing amendments to its greenhouse gas reporting regulation (O. Reg. 452/09), including amendments that will help align Ontario's reporting requirements with those under the WCI.

The proposed amendments, which are posted at EBR Registry Number 011-0209, would harmonize with the Regulation with other WCI jurisdictions by:

  • adding a new greenhouse gas (nitrogen trifluoride) to the program;
  • providing additional powers for the Director to request historical emission data that facilities have already submitted to the federal government; and
  • reflecting changes in calculation methods (in the guideline) to align with changes proposed under the WCI.

The amendments would also simplify the Regulation by:

  • removing limits on the amount of emissions from the combustion of biomass that can be omitted from a facility's determination of whether it exceeds the 25,000 tonnes GHG emission reporting threshold; and
  • clarifying the submission of verification statement by verifiers to facilities.

The expansion of the "zero-rating" treatment of emissions from biomass is intended to promote switching from fossil fuels to those derived from biomass. This change will no doubt benefit OPG as its switches from coal to biomass at its Atikokan Generation Station.

This amendments are open for public comment on the EBR Registry until October 25, 2010.