California, Quebec want to expand carbon trading system

California and the Canadian province of Quebec are recruiting other jurisdictions to join their carbon dioxide emissions trading system.

Quebec is talking with Ontario and neighboring New England states and California is working with Oregon and Washington, Quebec’s leader told Bloomberg News.

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The two jurisdictions started their partnership at the beginning of this year, after California spent a decade searching for a place to expand its market.

The system is currently the largest carbon cap-and-trade system in North America, regulating 180 million metric tons of carbon annually from power plants, oil refineries, cement producers and other industries, Bloomberg reported.

In both auctions and free allocations, the jurisdictions allow polluters limited rights to emit carbon. Companies with excess allowances can sell the rights, and the system aims to reduce the carbon allowances in future years.

“Having a market with only California and Quebec is not ideal,” Philippe Couillard, premier of Quebec, told Bloomberg.

“We are working very hard to recruit new partners. If we just add a couple of Western states, a couple of provinces, Ontario, and maybe some New England partners, we think that’s good enough.”

Couillard said governors of some New England states, particularly Vermont, have shown interest.

He did not say when any addition jurisdictions would sign on. Representatives of various New England states did not respond to Bloomberg’s requests for comment.