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B.C. introduces carbon cap-and-trade system, but it won’t affect trucks

VICTORIA, B.C. -- The B.C. government has introducing a Greenhouse Gas Reduction (cap and trade) Act this week, but...

VICTORIA, B.C. — The B.C. government has introducing a Greenhouse Gas Reduction (cap and trade) Act this week, but this legislation won’t affect mobile sources like trucking.

“This will be cap and trade for heavy industry, things like stacking wood plants: not moving stock,” said the communications coordinator for the B.C. environment ministry, Kate Thompson.

Cap and trade regulatory systems establish an overall cap or limit on emissions, while the “trade” part of the system allows regulated emitters to buy and sell emissions allowances or buy offset units, according to the B.C. government. In other words, those that can reduce emissions more efficiently are able to sell surplus units to those organizations that find it more challenging to do so. This system transfers emission reduction responsibility and management, to emitters, while market forces help determine the distribution of reductions, an unprecedented Canadian policy, according to B.C Environment Minister Barry Penner.

“The Cap and Trade Act will make British Columbia the first Canadian province to introduce legislation authorizing hard caps on greenhouse gas emissions,” he said. “This enabling legislation provides the framework to participate in the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) cap and trade system currently under development.”

Under the act, the B.C. government will establish the cap for designated large emitters by issuing a limited number of tradable “compliance units,” or emissions allowances, for given periods of time, or “compliance periods.” Each designated emitter will then be required to obtain a number of compliance units, equivalent to the amount of regulated greenhouse gas emissions it releases within the specified compliance period. These units must then be surrendered to the government as proof of compliance.

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