On July 11, 2009 the Notice requiring the reporting of GHG emissions for the year 2009, was published in the Canada Gazette (see the notice at http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2009/2009-07-11/html/notice-avis-eng.html#d101). The following changes where brought into effect by the Notice:
- The reporting threshold has been lowered from 100,000 tonnes CO2 equivalent (CO2E) to 50,000 tonnes CO2E.
- Venting and Flaring and Waste and Wastewater, two reporting categories used in previous years’ reporting, have been split into separate categories.
Under Section 46 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, Environment Canada collects information on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from Canadian facilities through its GHG Emissions Reporting Program. Facilities with that emit more than 50,000 tonnes CO2E must report their GHG information to Environment Canada on or before June 1, 2010.
On July 22, 2009, the Pacific Carbon Trust, a Crown corporation established in 2008 as part of B.C.'s Climate Action Plan, delivered its first 34,370 tonnes of emission offsets to the B.C. government.
The Pacific Carbon Trust purchases offsets generated by B.C.-based activities, which supports a low-carbon economy for B.C. and helps the province meet its goal of achieving carbon neutrality
The Pacific Carbon Trust has the goal to purchase over 700,000 tonnes of offsets annually by 2011.
On August 14, 2009 Nova Scotia released the Greenhouse Gas Emission and Air Pollutant Regulation.
The regulation applies to electrical generation facilities with emissions over 10,000 tonnes CO2E and sets hard caps on emissions within the electricity sector. Emissions will reduce slightly between 2010 and 2013 after which they will be allowed to increase before going more than one third lower in 2020.
Facility owners will be able to apply for "new transmission incentives", which are increases in the emissions cap for a compliance period that are granted in return for eligible investments made by a facility owner that "has or will increase the facility owner’s ability to move electrical power generated in the Province by sources of low-emissions electricity."
On June 26, 2009 the US House of Representatives passed the bill establishing the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 ("ACES") by a narrow margin of 219 votes to 212. During the debate, House Republicans criticized the bill as amounting to an energy tax which would lead to job losses to countries like China that do not regulate emissions.
The bill’s passage was in part thanks to major lobbying by the White House, as climate change and clean energy legislation are domestic priorities of President Obama.
Changes that were inserted into the bill in order to obtain the support necessary for passage include:
- The oversight of forestry and agricultural offsets by the Department of Agriculture as opposed to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
- A prohibition on the inclusion of indirect land use change in the calculation of the GHG intensity of biofuels for a period of five years.
- The expansion of the definition of renewable biomass.
- The receipt by small petrochemical refiners of an additional .25% of emission allowances between 2014 and 2026.
- The placing of restrictions on OTC energy derivatives.
- No electricity local distribution company will receive more emission allowances than it needs for its direct and indirect cost of compliance and any additional allowances will be distributed based on historic GHG emissions data.
- Electricity local distribution companies that deliver less that 4 MWH annually will receive .5% of the allotted emissions allowances between 2012 and 2025. The allowances are to be used for energy efficiency, renewable electricity, and low income ratepayer assistance programs.
The Bill is presently at the Senate where it has had two readings.
There are already initiatives underway in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which passed a draft bill entitled the American Clean Energy Leadership Act on June 17. On July 17, 2009 this bill was also placed on the Senate calendar. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee is also planning to propose a GHG cap-and-trade measure.
These measures, and others under consideration by Senate committees, deal with many of the issues already addressed by ACES. If the Senate passes its own bill that combines the different measures, differences between the Senate bill and the ACES will have to be reconciled, with a final version of the bill being passed by both Houses. The last hurdle, before being signed into law, will be the veto power of President Obama