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Network Connections - February

IETA representing business in emissions pricing battles

In October of last year, the Trump administration stunned the business community by filing a suit against the state of California, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and WCI. Inc, challenging the state’s linkage with Quebec’s cap-and-trade programme. With the lawsuit landing after Ontario’s abrupt 2018 exit from the linked WCI market, it prompted IETA into action to defend international cooperation and market linkages.

With the support and leadership of several members, the IETA secretariat commissioned Nicholas van Aelstyn from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP to file a motion to intervene on behalf of the defendants. The presiding court granted this motion and IETA formally joined the legal defense alongside the State of California, the California Air Resources Board, the Western Climate Initiative, Environmental Defense Fund and Natural Resources Defense Council. IETA is the only intervenor representing business interests in this important case. See IETA’s brief, filed on 10 February, for more details on IETA’s arguments and position.

The first oral arguments for the case will be heard in Sacramento on 9 March. The case is unlikely to be settled swiftly; it is more likely that the court will issue a written decision, which would likely be appealed to a higher court. The precise endpoint of this legal journey through the courts is hard to predict, particularly given the upcoming presidential election in the United States. However, we are certain that our seasoned counsel will do a stellar job representing IETA and the business voice in this critical matter.

North of the border, IETA continues to be the only business intervenor in a series of carbon pricing legal challenges from coast-to-coast in Canada. We are fortunate to be represented by Lisa DeMarco of DeMarco Allan LLP across all provincial constitutional challenges to the federal Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act (GGPPA), which began over a year ago and is expected to culminate with a Supreme Court Hearing in late March and Court Decision thereafter.

Most recently, the Court of Appeal of Alberta released their decision, concluding with a 4-1 majority that the federal GGPPA is unconstitutional in its entirety, and that the regulation falls under the heads of power assigned to Provinces, not Parliament by the Constitution. This decision by the Alberta Court of Appeal is not in line with previous decisions by other provincial Courts of Appeal.

The 2019 challenges by Saskatchewan and Ontario were both decided in favour of the constitutionality of the federal carbon pricing system. Both of these decisions have been appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which will be heard on 24 and 25 March. The new decision by the Alberta court will be before the Supreme Court in the consideration of these appeals. IETA’s evidence and arguments – through the lens of supporting stable and durable cooperative carbon pricing approaches that work for private sector across Canada – will be delivered by Lisa DeMarco at the Supreme Court hearing.


IETA looks forward to partnering again for North American Carbon World (NACW) 2020 in San Francisco on 30 March to 2 April. This conference is one of the most important gatherings for climate markets, finance and policy stakeholders across North America, where participants gather to share updates, network and explore the latest challenges (including the above legal battles) and share experiences and best practice throughout the region.  We hope to see you there!

Clayton Munnings, IETA West Coast representative and Ellen Lourie, IETA North American Policy Associate


Save the date for IETA's 2020 events - we hope you can join us!

  • 20-24 April: Africa Climate Week will be held in Kampala, Uganda
  • 25 May: European Climate Summit takes place in Barcelona, Spain
  • 26-28 May: Innovate4Climate kicks off in Barcelona
  • 6-10 July: The Latin America & Carribbean Climate Week will be in Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic
  • 24-28 August: Join us in Yokohama, Japan for Asia Pacific Climate Week
  • 22-23 September: New York plays host to Carbon Forum North America
  • 19-23 October: Middle East Climate Week takes place in Dubai, UAE

IETA Publications

The Economic Potential of Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and Implementation Challenge report, prepared by IETA and co-sponsored by Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition, with the help of researchers and modellers from the University of Maryland 

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