British Columbia’s cap and trade system took an important step closer to implementation on November 25, 2009 when the detailed Reporting Regulation (the “Regulation”) of BC’s Greenhouse Gas Reductions (Cap and Trade) Act (the “Act”), together with key sections of the Act were brought into force by Order-in-Council. The Regulation becomes effective January 1, 2010 and requires operations that emit more than 10,000 metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) per year to report their greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions to the BC Ministry of Environment. The types of facilities and activities covered by the Act and the attribution of emissions are detailed in the schedules to the Regulation. The Act and the Regulation require that reporting operators submit an annual emissions report by March 31 of the following year. Amongst other things, an emissions report must include facility data broken down by activity (e.g. petroleum refining and electronics manufacturing), emission sources (e.g. from above ground storage tanks, equipment leaks, and combustion of purge gas) and the GHG types emitted. Although the Regulation imposes reporting requirements beginning on January 1, 2010, reporting operators who emitted more than 20,000 metric tonnes of CO2e in any year from 2006 to 2009 must include emission information for each such year in their first emissions report. Operations that emit more than 25,000 metric tonnes of CO2e are required to verify their reported emissions by way of concurrently filed (except in 2010 and 2011 when a five month grace is given) independent third party verification statements. The Regulation stipulates that acceptable third party verifiers must be persons accredited by the Standards Council of Canada or another member of the International Accreditation Forum, in accordance with ISO 14065, or, if the report is completed on or before December 31, 2012, by a person accredited by the California Air Resources Board.
In addition to the Regulation, notable sections of the Act were brought in force including Part 8 – Offences and Penalties. This Part provides for fines and penalties to be imposed against persons contravening the Act and the Regulation, such as the emission reporting requirements discussed above.
The BC Ministry of Environment is presently developing additional guidance and information material to support implementation and understanding of the detailed Regulation. A Methodology Manual, Verification Manual, Emissions Estimation and other useful information may be found on the Ministry website at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/epd/codes/ggrcta/reporting-regulation/index.htm.