A Climate Change Plan for the Purposes of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act

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Provincial and Territorial Collaboration and Action

This section addresses the descriptive requirements of paragraph 5 (1) (a) (iv) of the Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act to include measures respecting cooperative measures or agreements with provinces, territories, or other governments, as well as paragraphs 5 (1) (b) (i) and (ii).

The Government of Canada recognizes the important role that provinces and territories play in combating climate change. Provincial and territorial governments control many of the levers for action towards reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from a number of key sectors, including electricity generation, residential, commercial, and institutional buildings, transportation, agriculture, and waste management.

The Government of Canada, provinces, and territories are currently pursuing a number of climate change initiatives across Canada. There are some commonalities – for example, energy efficiency and conservation efforts often figure prominently – but approaches to climate change do vary among provinces and territories. Quebec and British Columbia introduced carbon taxes on October 1, 2007, and July 1, 2008, respectively. In 2007, Alberta passed the Climate Change and Emissions Management Amendment Act to regulate GHG emissions from large industry. Together, Alberta and Saskatchewan are making substantial investments in carbon capture and storage technology and are also pursuing regulatory frameworks. Ontario and Nova Scotia are taking action to reduce emissions from electricity generation, with Ontario phasing out the use of all coal-fired power plants and Nova Scotia putting in place regulated caps on GHG and air pollutant emissions from power generation facilities. Moreover, British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec, along with several American states, are participating in the Western Climate Initiative, which aims to create a common carbon market. The Government of Canada is also working with provinces and territories through a number of other substantial investments in clean energy and infrastructure development.

In Budget 2007, the $1.5 billion Clean Air and Climate Change Trust Fund was established to support those provinces and territories that identify major projects that will result in real reductions in GHG emissions and air pollutants. Importantly, while the Government of Canada provided funding to provincial and territorial governments through the Trust Fund, it is provincial and territorial governments themselves that are responsible for allocating the funds to specific programs. Further, the Trust Fund was established on an arms-length basis, and provincial and territorial governments are not required to report to the Government of Canada on how they used Trust Fund resources.

In response to recommendations by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the Government of Canada approached provinces and territories about quantifying reductions associated with the Trust Fund. These efforts have resulted in an improved understanding of how Trust Fund resources are being utilized. This information was compiled in last year’s Plan;  several provincial governments indicated that they used the resources received from the Trust Fund to finance their overall provincial climate change plans.

As with the previous year’s Plan, the current Plan takes into account all provincial and territorial actions that affect GHG emissions in the estimate of baseline emissions before accounting for other federal programs identified in this Plan. This ensures that all of the actions provinces and territories have taken to reduce emissions – including those actions directly or indirectly supported by the federal Trust Fund – are fully taken into account in the baseline projection of emissions that is used to evaluate the impact of federal actions (other than the Trust Fund) on GHG emissions.17

17  Since integrated modelling has been done from a baseline that includes provincial and territorial programs, some of which complement federal actions, the impact of federal actions may be understated since all interaction effects between provincial/territorial and federal programs will be netted out from the estimated federal reductions.

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