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Climate policy boosted in Canada

This past month has been a busy time in the Americas on the carbon policy – and legal – front. The much-anticipated results of Canada’s federal election came in on 21 October, with the country re-electing a Liberal government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – however, as a minority government now. The loss of its majority means it will need to work much more closely with other federal parties to support its legislative agenda, including on climate and energy. This outcome, in the near-term at least, is good for policy certainty and sustained efforts towards meeting the national emissions targets.

Under a minority government, we can expect the Liberals to continue to develop their climate plans – and can expect a reasonable degree of support from the other federal parties (apart from the opposition Conservative Party of Canada). The federal carbon pricing backstop system - which includes the Output-Based Pricing System (OBPS) trading programme and a levy on fuels - will remain in effect; the federal offsets system will continue to develop (with the draft regulations and clarity on certain provincial programme implications expected in coming months); and the federal clean fuel standard (CFS) will also remain under development.

On the legal front, earlier this month, a decision was made by a court in the Canadian province of Ontario that the current Ontario government broke the law when it scrapped the cap-and-trade system. This legal challenge had been brought forth by Greenpeace on the grounds that the government had not held appropriate consultations before making the decision, as required by provincial law. However, the courts will not force Ontario to re-instate the cap-and-trade programme, and the province is now covered by the federal carbon pricing programme.  

We also saw some legal developments further south, with the United States Department of Justice filing a civil lawsuit against the State of California regarding the linkage of its ETS with Québec’s. As IETA noted in its official statement, this lawsuit is focused solely on the linkage between the programmes, and not the programmes themselves. IETA will continue to support both the California and Québec markets and to advocate for increased market-driven cross-border cooperation.

Ellen Lourie
North American Policy Associate

For more information on IETA and our work, see www.ieta.org


  • 4-5 November: See Eva Weightman and Stefano De Clara at Aviation Carbon in London
  • 7 November: Join IETA's COP25 preview via the internet at 4pm GMT

IETA Member's Corner

How is Permian Global involved in the carbon market?

Recognising the vital role forests can play as a means of tackling the climate crisis, Permian Global is delivering large-scale tropical forest protection and recovery through the sale of verified emission reductions. 

Headquartered in the UK, the global team works with governments, local partners and communities across Latin America, Asia and Africa to develop fully verified and scientifically robust forest carbon landscapes. 

Permian Global is not only making a significant contribution in efforts to address climate change  natural climate solutions represent 37% of the cost-effective mitigation potential needed between now and 2030 to stabilise warming below 2°C but is also safeguarding vital biodiverse ecosystems and supporting local economic growth, while making substantial and demonstrable contributions to achieving the United Nation’s (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Why did you join IETA?

IETA is an important hub for Permian Global, it helps us to achieve critical mass in pursuing key advocacy goals and is a valuable network for all those who understand the need for market-based mechanisms that drive environmental change. Ours is still a relatively young sector, one with a diversity of approaches, but collectively we all recognise the enormous impact that private sector capital can have for mitigating the climate crisis. Through its advocacy and working groups, IETA is helping to shape and strengthen the carbon market that allows us to develop our natural climate solutions, while also providing a vital space for peer discussions.

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 


IETA Insights 2019 #6: T
wo countries, two approaches to carbon pricing

Two short case studies of carbon pricing in Canada and Mexico, prepared by ClearBlue Markets and MexiCO2

IETA Insights 2019 #5: Piloting for post 2020 carbon markets

The article, written by VK Duggal from the Asian Development Bank, looks at an initiative to prepare nations in the region for the next wave of carbon markets under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. 

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