The Greenhouse Gas Industrial Reporting and Control Act (GGIRCA or the Act) received Royal Assent on November 27, 2014. The intent is to enable performance standards to be set for industrial facilities or sectors by listing them within a Schedule of the Act; it also streamlines several aspects of existing greenhouse gas (GHG) legislation including emission reporting, offsets, tracking and compliance into a single legislative and regulatory system. To uphold the Province’s commitment to having the cleanest liquefied natural gas (LNG) operations in the world, the Act includes a performance standard – a GHG emission intensity benchmark – for LNG facilities.
During the process of developing the regulations under the Act, the Climate Action Secretariat in the Ministry of Environment (the Ministry) sought public comments on three proposed regulations. A Reporting Regulation Policy Intentions Paper was available for comment between March 19 and April 20, 2015, followed by the Offsets Regulation and Compliance Framework Policy Intention Papers, which were posted between July 22 and August 21, 2015. An overview (without attributions) of the submissions received can be viewed here. The Ministry would like to thank those who submitted comments.
Approximately 20 responses to the intentions papers were received by email and were reviewed and considered during the development of the regulations. Respondents included representatives from the private sector, First Nations communities, non-profit organizations and member associations.
Input leads to action:
The Act was brought into force on January 1, 2016 by regulation. It includes the ability to set a greenhouse gas emissions intensity benchmark for regulated industries, including LNG facilities. This benchmark can be met using flexible options that act as incentives to invest in emission reduction projects for natural gas and other sectors around the province. Options include purchasing offsets or paying a set price per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions. The revenue from the latter would be allocated to a technology fund.
The Act provides authority for the Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulation, the Greenhouse Gas Emission Control Regulation, and the Greenhouse Gas Emission Administrative Penalties and Appeals Regulation, each of which is outlined below:
- Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulation:
The Greenhouse Gas Emission Reporting Regulation ensures that industrial operations which emit over 10,000 carbon-dioxide-equivalent tonnes per year (tCO2e) report their GHG emissions each year to the Province. Those operations emitting over 25,000 tCO2e are required to have their emission reports independently verified. Compliance reporting requirements for regulated operations, including LNG, are prescribed. The compliance reports provide the necessary information to demonstrate how regulated operations meet the emissions intensity benchmark.
- Greenhouse Gas Emission Control Regulation:
The Greenhouse Gas Emission Control Regulation establishes the framework and requirements for issuing emission offset units and funded units which are foundational elements that enable compliance with the performance standards listed within the Schedule to the Act. The Regulation also establishes the BC Carbon Registry which will enable the issuance, transfer and retirement of compliance units (emission offset units, funded units and earned credits) on an electronic platform.
- Greenhouse Gas Emission Administrative Penalties and Appeals Regulation:
The Greenhouse Gas Emission Administrative Penalties and Appeals Regulation establishes the process for when, how much, and under what conditions administrative penalties, including administrative monetary penalties, may be levied for non-compliance with the Act. This Regulation also outlines the process for how appeals may be sought after a decision has been made by the Director under the Act.