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The Ontario government announced earlier this week the signing of an MOU between Ontario, Quebec, and Manitoba to link their respective cap and trade programmes. The agreement was signed while the Premiers of the three provinces were participating in the Paris Conference on Climate change (COP21) that is wrapping up this week.

Manitoba is a new player to the burgeoning North American cap and trade market, announcing its programme just last week. Quebec launched its program back in 2013 (linking it, in 2014, to California’s). Ontario announced its intention to initiate a cap and trade programme and link it with Quebec’s in April 2015 (released a draft proposal for the programme at the end of November).

Steam seems to be picking up on a daily basis for cap and trade programmes designed to price carbon and encourage reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Particularly vis-à-vis other approaches to carbon pricing such as a direct carbon tax,  the efficacy of cap and trade programmes lies in their details. Given the growing emphasis by governments on these programmes, their effective design is crucial.

The EU emissions trading scheme has come under criticism, for example, for giving too many allocations when the scheme was established, contributing in part to an overcapacity in the carbon market.

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