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Saskatchewan begins development of offset system

by Mark Sabourin
EcoLog, 6/7/2019 1:15:00 PM

Saskatchewan intends to have an offset system for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in place in 2021 to assist in compliance with its output-based performance standards. Output-based pricing applies to Saskatchewan facilities with annual GHG emissions over 25 kilotonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (kt CO2e). Facilities emitting more than 10 kt CO2e may voluntarily opt-in.

As a first step toward developing its offset system, the province has released a detailed Saskatchewan Offset Framework Discussion Paper outlining options.

An overarching consideration for Saskatchewan is the size of the market into which its offsets can be sold. Currently, offset markets are in operation in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec. However, in each of those jurisdictions only offsets generated in the province (and California in the case of Quebec) may be used for compliance.

But the federal government has indicated its intention to develop an offset system under the output-based pricing component of its carbon backstop, and it has stated that it intends to recognize any offset that meets specific criteria set by the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) in its Pan-Canadian Framework on Greenhouse Gas Offsets.The framework is still a draft, but it is expected to be endorsed by the CCME later in 2019.

Saskatchewan would like its offsets to be accepted in all jurisdictions currently under federal output-based pricing: Ontario, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Yukon and Nunavut. The discussion paper makes clear that it favours an offset system that aligns with the CCME framework.

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