Ontario's first cap-and-trade auction a sellout

By Kristin Rushowy, The Toronto Star.

Ontario’s first auction for greenhouse gas allowances was a sellout — with 100 per cent of current permits available snapped up by the province’s biggest polluters.

But Environment Minister Glen Murray said while the participation showed “a high level of confidence” among businesses, the real measure of success comes in curbing emissions.

“The participation rate — whether 100 per cent or 20 per cent . . . is not the success of the market,” he told reporters at Queen’s Park. “The success of the market is really based on our ability to reduce GHGs. We will not expect to get 100 per cent all the time.”

Results of the auction, held March 22, were released Monday afternoon. Some 25,296,367 allowances for 2017 were sold as well as 812,000 in future allowances — about a quarter of what was available for 2020 — bringing in a total of $472,031,155.

The next auction is scheduled for June 6.

Murray said he was pleased to see the trading price at $18.08, only slightly more than the minimum floor price. 

“One of the objectives of cap and trade is to manage the transition to a low carbon economy at the lowest-possible prices to Ontarians and Ontario businesses, so we didn't want to see early upward movement on that,” Murray said.