As part of their on-going efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 33% below 2007 levels by 2020, the government of British Columbia released two consultation papers last week relating to proposed regulations under the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act.

The Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act is a cornerstone piece of legislation that establishes the legal framework for a market-based cap and trade system in the province of British Columbia. This system is intended to integrate with systems in other jurisdictions through the Western Climate Initiative. The two consultation papers provide details on the regulations that would define the operation of the British Columbia market.

The first paper, dealing with the accounting of "offsets', proposes a standard for offsets issued by the province in order to ensure they consistently equal one metric tonne of CO2 and associated offset eligibility criteria. The paper also outlines the criteria for ensuring offsets are "real, verifiable, additional and permanent". The consultation paper also reviews the proposed regulatory procedures for registering, validating, monitoring, quantifying, reporting, verifying, certifying and issuing offsets.

The second paper, dealing with emissions trading regulations, sets out a proposal for the basic trading rules within the system. The goal is to establish a system that creates an "efficient, fair market with clear rules on how allowances are created, distributed, traded, tracked and retired for compliance." This paper deals with matters such as identifying which specific operations and facilities will be covered by the regulations, how the carbon registry will operate, the total number and allocation of allowances,

Parties wishing to make submissions on these papers have until December 6, 2010 to provide comments to the Minister of Environment. The Ministry website dedicated to the Greenhouse Gas Reduction (Cap and Trade) Act has links to response forms which can be printed out and mailed in, as well as a version that can be completed online and submitted electronically.