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30th Quebec-California carbon auction generates $362M in sales

The 30th carbon auction between Quebec’s Ministry of the Environment and Fight Against Climate Ch...

Carbon Market

Representatives of Quebec, California and New Zealand sign a joint declaration at COP26 regarding the carbon market (Courtesy CARB)

The 30th carbon auction between Quebec’s Ministry of the Environment and Fight Against Climate Change (MELCC) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) generated $362 million in sales.

A carbon credit is any permit that allows its holder to emit one tonne of CO2 or the equivalent amount of a different GHG.

During the sale on Feb. 16, 58,527,697 current vintage emission units were sold at $37.14 per unit, and 7,079,000 2025 vintage emission units went for $25.10 per unit. The joint market between Quebec and California is the largest carbon market in North America.

It included a current auction of 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022 vintage allowances and an advance auction of 2025 vintage allowances. Each jurisdiction will receive its proceeds by March 16.

There were 127 qualified bidders for the latest auction, companies approved by MELCC or CARB to participate. However, the auction summary notes that not all registrants may have been involved.

Revenues support climate change fund

The money will go into the Electrification and Climate Change Fund (ECCF) to finance the measures contained in the 2030 plan for a green economy. Quebec has pledged to reduce GHG emissions below 1990 levels by 37.5 per cent by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2050.

Since December 2013, the MELCC has held quarterly GHG emissions unit auctions. Emission units from partner governments are entirely fungible, which means emitters and participants can purchase them irrespective of their country of origin.

Since November 2014, the first joint auction between Quebec and California, 244,162,971 have been sold. Proceeds paid to the ECCF total $5,661,704,420.91. Before November 1, 2020, the funds had been allotted to the province’s Green Fund.

The next auction will take place on Wednesday, May 18. As stipulated in the regulation, an official notice will be published on the MELCC website 60 days before the auction. The registration period will begin on the day the information is posted.

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