California + Quebec = Good News for the Climate


Posted on 29 June 2012

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By Erica Morehouse
Environmental Defense Fund

The State of California and the Canadian province of Quebec are worlds apart in many ways – they are, of course, under different governments, in different nations, and their economies are separated by both geography and currency. But they share a common goal: tackling the problem of climate change while stimulating economic growth by putting a price on carbon and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The proposed link between the two jurisdictions represents a transformative step for North America, and could jumpstart a broader regional effort to combat the threat of climate change and create a prosperous clean energy economy.

It’s very good news that this week, California’s Legislature and the State’s Air Resources Board (ARB) moved forward with plans to develop a linked carbon pricing arrangement with Quebec. The legislature voted Wednesday to ensure all interested stakeholders can provide input into a fully transparent process, resulting in a mutually beneficial outcome that adheres to California's high standards for environmental integrity.

The ARB has made it clear that they welcome the Governor’s engagement, and that they will continue to conduct a careful and thoughtful public process to maximize the benefits of the collaboration for California’s environment and economy.

For almost five years, Quebec and California have been sharing information and best practices through the Western Climate Initiative, and they’ve been on parallel tracks to building emissions reduction programs that incorporate the central components of good design: strong reporting rules, a stringent cap on pollution, scientifically rigorous offsets and effective enforcement. Though ARB has indicated that Quebec won’t join California for the inaugural auction in November, the table is set for a successful joint auction to occur sometime in 2013.

EDF stands ready to work with ARB and other stakeholders to ensure California’s Governor and Attorney General have the information they need to make wise decisions on the program, with California’s best interests at heart.

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Erica Morehouse is an EDF staff attorney specializing in California climate policy and law.