TORONTO—Ontario’s environment minister says it’s not surprising that for the second time in a row, a cap-and-trade market that the province is set to join sold a fraction of the allowances, but it’s not worrying either.
Only 35 per cent of the available carbon pollution credits were sold in California and Quebec’s latest joint auction—though that’s up from the approximately 10 per cent in the previous round.
Next year, Ontario is set to launch its cap-and-trade program, requiring emitters to pay for greenhouse gases released into the air, and will link with California and Quebec’s market the following year.
Environment Minister Glen Murray says the fluctuations seen in that market are normal, and that Ontario expects its revenues could be as low as $300 million some years, or as high as $2.5 billion in other years.
He says the $1.9-billion-per-year projection in Ontario’s budget is an average, and that the funding going to green programs in the government’s climate action plan will be within a range.
Murray says the priority areas are reducing transportation and building emissions.