Canada's Clean Fuel Regulations increase incentives for the development and adoption of clean fuels, technologies and processes. The goal of the Clean Fuel Regulations is to significantly reduce pollution by making the fuels we use every day cleaner over time. The Clean Fuel Regulations require liquid fossil fuel (gasoline and diesel) suppliers to gradually reduce the carbon intensity – or the amount of pollution – from the fuels they produce and sell for use in Canada over time, leading to a decrease of approximately 15% (below 2016 levels) in the carbon intensity of gasoline and diesel used in Canada by 2030.
To drive innovation at the lowest cost, the Clean Fuel Regulations establish a credit market. Regulated parties (producers and importers of gasoline and diesel) must create or buy credits to comply with the reduction requirements. Parties with extra credits can bank them for use in later years or sell them.
The BC-LCFS is a program that aims to reduce the carbon intensity of transportation fuels used in the province of British Columbia, Canada. The goal of the LCFS is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with the transportation sector by promoting the use of cleaner and more sustainable fuels. Under the LCFS, fuel suppliers in British Columbia are required to reduce the average carbon intensity of the transportation fuels they provide. The LCFS sets specific carbon intensity reduction targets over time, and fuel suppliers must either meet these targets or purchase credits to offset any excess carbon emissions. Credits can be traded between fuel suppliers or banked for future use.
The BC-LCFS has been successful in reducing British Columbia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector by an average of six per cent per year between 2010 and 2020, and is expected to drive 31 per cent of BC’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets.
The Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) in California, the Clean Fuel Standard in Washington, and the Clean Fuels Program (CFP) in Oregon are trading mechanisms designed to reduce the CO2 intensity of the fuel mix within the states. The LCFS programs are designed to have Carbon Intensity standards that increase in stringency over time for transportation fuels such as gasoline, diesel, and their substitutes used in the administering states.
In January 2019, a CCS Protocol was agreed for the CA LCFS, which allows transportation fuels whose lifecycle emissions have been reduced through CCS to become eligible for credits.
The Alberta TIER requires regulated facilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and implements an emissions trading system. To meet the TIER emissions reduction requirement, facilities can reduce their emissions or use emission performance credits, emission offsets or pay into a compliance fund (TIER fund). This ties-in to Alberta's Emission Offset System which enables compliance flexibility for facilities regulated under TIER.
Section 45Z, also known as the Clean Fuel Production Credit (CFPC), provides a tax credit for fuels relative to how low their carbon intensity (CI) score is against a baseline level, defined as 50 CI (kg CO2e/mmbtu) in statute, under the Argonne Greenhouse gases, Regulated Emissions, and Energy use in Transportation (GREET) model (for nonaviation fuel). The value of this credit is $0.02 cents per gallon for each CI point under 50. Entities can qualify for fuel produced and sold between 2025 and 2027.
The 45V Hydrogen Tax Credit was created to subsidize the production of “clean” hydrogen. Hydrogen producers have the option of either receiving a credit equal to a specified dollar value per kilogram of hydrogen produced (a production tax credit; PTC) or a tax credit equal to a specified fraction of their capital expenses (an investment tax credit; ITC). These values depend on the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions associated with the hydrogen production and whether or not the hydrogen producer complies with the prevailing wage and apprenticeship requirements in the bill. If a producer is not in compliance with these requirements, the credit is reduced by a factor of five. Since these projects may also be eligible for tax-exempt bonds, if a project receives such financing, the amount of credit is reduced for both the ITC and PTC.
Section 45Q of the US tax code provides a performance-based tax credit for carbon management projects which carbon oxides (carbon dioxide and its precursor, carbon monoxide) from eligible industry and power facilities, as well as directly from the atmosphere. The 45Q tax credit can be claimed when an eligible project has:
To claim the tax credit taxpayers must successfully demonstrate secure geologic storage of captured or reused carbon. This occurs through robust and transparent monitoring, reporting, and verification of the geologically stored CO2 or lifecycle analysis (LCA) of the reused carbon through processes established by the US Department of Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service and overseen by the US Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Energy.
Section 40B, is a sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) tax credit. Congress provides five years of SAF tax incentives. In 2023 and 2024 SAF will qualify for a standalone blenders credit (40B) if the fuel reduces lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50 percent. The value of this credit is determined on a sliding scale, equal to $1.25 plus an additional $0.01 for each percentage point by which the lifecycle emissions reduction of such fuel exceeds 50 percent. Then, SAF incentives will become part of 45Z from 2025 to 2027.
The Verified Carbon Standard The VCS is an international voluntary GHG offset program developed and run by the non-profit Verra. It focuses on GHG reduction attributes only and does not require projects to have additional environmental or social benefits. Projects and programs registered in the VCS Program are issued unique carbon credits known as VCUs. Active VCS methodologies are listed here.
Third-party auditors must be accredited either under an approved GHG Program or under the ISO 14065:2007 and with an accreditation scope specifically for the VCS project type or approved GHG Program, and region in question. Verra charges a levy at the point of Voluntary Carbon Unit (VCU) issuance.
The Puro Standard for carbon removal is used to issue science-based certificates that represent actual carbon that has been removed from the atmosphere. Their verification process requires scientific measurement and quantification of the removed carbon in the product or process and carbon net-negativity in its production, from cradle-to-gate.
Project developers may work with third-party agencies to draft and certify their own independent methodology in alignment with standards such as the ISO 14064-2 or ISO 14040. These methodologies provide the framework for developing carbon removal projects using the project developer’s chosen technology, and include rules for eligibility, means of quantification, monitoring instructions, reporting requirements, and verification parameters.
The Gold Standard (GS) is a voluntary carbon offset program focused on progressing the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and ensuring that project’s benefit their neighboring communities. The GS can be applied to voluntary offset projects and to Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects. It was developed under the leadership of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), HELIO International, and SouthSouthNorth, with a focus on offset projects that provide lasting social, economic, and environmental benefits.
The Climate Action Reserve was launched in 2008. It is a USA based voluntary offsets program whose projects are implemented within North America.
CAR establishes standards for quantifying and verifying GHG emissions reduction projects, provides oversight to independent third-party verification bodies, and issues and tracks carbon credits. The Reserve guides the development of project protocols in accordance with the principles in its Climate Action Reserve Program Manual.
CAR’s GHG emission reduction program, including its project-specific protocols and its verifier accreditation and oversight program, has been approved under the Verified Carbon Standard. CRTs issued by the Reserve can be converted into Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) and transferred to a VCS registry.
The ACR Standard outlines the eligibility requirements for registration of project-based carbon offsets and includes requirements for methodology approval, project validation and verification, and other procedural requirements and information on the general use of the American Carbon Registry. ACR methodologies and protocols are all based on ISO 14064. ACR approved Validation and Verification Bodies (VVBs) must meet the competency requirements laid out in ISO 14065 and ISO14066 and be IAF member-accredited in the relevant project sector.