New Ontario Greenhouse Gas Reporting Regulation

Jan 9th, 2010 | By | Category: Canada, Climate Change

On December 1, 2009, Ontario filed its final Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reporting Regulation (O. Reg. 452/09) under the Environmental Protection Act. The regulation will ensure that an estimated 200 to 300 large emitters of prescribed greenhouse gases (GHGs) provide regulators with GHG emissions data needed to support a cap-and-trade system.

The new regulation, which came into force on January 1, 2010, covers who has to report, how the data is to be collected, analyzed and verified, and when the annual submissions are due.

Applicability

 O. Reg. 452/09 applies to greenhouse gases (listed in Table 1 of the regulation) generated from any of the following sources:

 Adipic acid manufacturing  General stationary combustion  Nitric acid manufacturing
 Primary manufacturing of aluminum  Glass production  Petroleum refining
 Ammonia manufacturing  HCFC-22 production  Phosphoric acid production
 Carbonate use  Hydrogen production  Pulp & paper manufacturing
 Cement manufacturing  Iron manufacturing  Refinery fuel gas use within a petroleum refinery
 Coal storage  Lead production  Soda ash manufacturing
 Copper production  Lime manufacturing  Steel manufacturing
 Electricity generation and cogeneration  Nickel production  Zinc production
 Ferroalloy production  Petrochemical production  

  

Requirements

All prescribed facilities will be required to quantify their annual GHG emissions using standardized methods set out in the new Guideline for GHG Emissions Reporting. For the 2010 reporting year, facilities will be permitted to use alternative methods as described in the Guideline or approved by the Ministry of the Environment. The standardized quantification methods, which have been tailored for each of the 26 sectors, are based on procedures developed by the Western Climate Initiative (WCI) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

All prescribed facilities must collect emissions data, but only those that emit 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) or more per year are subject to the annual reporting requirements. The first emissions report, covering the 2010 calendar year, is due by June 1, 2011. 

Beginning with the 2011 reporting year, the emissions data must be verified by an accredited third party and a verification report submitted by September 1 of the calendar year following the reporting period.

All documentation and data must be retained for at least seven years. The Director can require any prescribed facility that does not file an annual emission report to submit proof that its emissions did not exceed the 25,000 tonne threshold during the relevant reporting period. 

Future Improvements

In response to a number of comments on the costs and administrative burden associated with third party verification of emissions data, the Ministry says it will continue to look for ways to “streamline” the verification requirements, in accordance with its other cap-and-trade partners. It will also work with accreditation agencies and verification service providers to ensure sufficient capacity is in place when the verification provisions take effect in the 2011 reporting period.

Confidential Business Information

A number of concerns were also raised about the protection of confidential business information. The Ministry has removed from the final regulation data submission requirements that are “not essential for the design of a future cap and trade program or for a high level quality assessment of the reported emissions.” In addition, much of the sensitive information does not have to be submitted but can be kept on site by the company for audit by the Ministry.

About the Author

Paul Manning is a Partner and Certified Specialist in Environmental Law at Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers, LLP in Toronto, Canada. His environmental law practice includes energy and climate change law, tribunal and appellate advocacy, environmental regulatory law and defense to prosecution. Willms & Shier specializes in environment, energy, resources and aboriginal law.

Photograph: Sunset at Toronto Condo by Neil Ta, Toronto, Canada.

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