Is Canada ready for a “Cap and Trade” system? The importance of setting standards in the GHG profession

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To entice companies to comply with greenhouse gas emission reduction targets regulators are looking into financial trading tools.

One popular idea is to set a maximum emission level for a company, industry, or political jurisdiction otherwise known as a “cap” and then allow polluters to buy emission reduction credits from people who have a positive impact on emissions reduction.

The first step in establishing such a system as a regulatory implementation mechanism for greenhouse gas reductions is to establish GHG reporting requirements for players in the industry. Alberta has led the way by establishing GHG reporting requirements for large emitters.

This raises the question, who is qualified to report GHG outputs?

ECO (Environmental Careers Organization) Canada has a certification body that is answering that question by developing standards that incorporate the requirements of ISO (International Standards Organization). And now after three years of research Greenhouse gas professionals in Canada will now be able to apply for professional certification.

“By developing a competency-based national certification system, we are taking the first step in the right direction. It will allow Canada to create emission inventories that are realistic, accurate, and defensible,” says Grant Trump, President of ECO Canada.

With the help of Canadian government and industry leaders ECO Canada has been able to construct a set of standards that are in line with what’s happening in the world market. Beginning this October, GHG professionals in Canada will be able to apply for professional certification to demonstrate they are competent in GHG Verification and Quantification.

“Approximately $60 billion in carbon credits are traded each year in the EU's Emissions Trading System. If Canada is going to partake in emissions trading on this scale, certification to qualify professionals who report and verify GHG emissions is a must, says Trump.”

The National Occupational Standards for GHG Professionals have been created through extensive consultation with a broad range of experienced GHG Professionals from across Canada and are aligned with international GHG standards (ISO 14064/14065).

The certification process for GHG professionals consists of a variety of demanding components including minimum education and work experience, competency assessment and examination. Once certified, members will be required to adhere to a code of ethics, and must also demonstrate ongoing maintenance of skills and knowledge through professional development activities and continued work in the area.

This project was funded by the Government of Canada's Human Resources and Skills Development Canada, as part of the Sector Council Program, and the Standards Council of Canada.

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