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 November 25, 2009
Québec unveils its 2020 GHG emission reduction goal

 

With just a few weeks to go before the December 2009 climate conference in Copenhagen, Québec is announcing where it stands. With a GHG Emissions reduction target of 20% by 2020, Québec emerges as a North American a leader in the fight against climate change.

Montréal, Québec Premier Jean Charest and Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, Line Beauchamp, today unveiled Québec's target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) by the year 2020. By targeting a 20% reduction below 1990 levels, Québec has set a goal similar to the target established by the European Union thus becoming a leader in the fight against climate change.

The Premier acknowledged that achieving this target will require an additional commitment on the part of Quebecers.

"It is a very ambitious target for the government, given that 48% of Québec's total energy currently comes from renewable energy sources. We currently hold the best GHG emissions record in Canada, which is approximately eleven tons per capita, half of the Canadian average."

"With a -20% target by 2020, Québec will have the smallest level of emissions per capita in North America. The industrial sector has also made enormous strides with an over 7% emissions reduction in 2006, compared to 1990 levels, despite the fact that Québec's GDP increased 41% over the same period. For Québec, achieving this target is therefore a sound plan for a sustainable future that everyone will be urged to endorse," added the Premier.

In a statement issued with the announcement, the province noted the reduction target will show flexibility from one economic activity sector to another in accordance with the reduction potential of each in terms of international competitiveness, available technology and required transition measures.

The statement notes Québec has the resources necessary to make the shift towards an economy less dependent on fossil fuels. It has abundant sources of renewable energy, a strong potential for technological innovation and the province is home to a number of international corporations specialized in mass transit manufacturing.

Given that the transportation sector accounts for 40% of Québec's GHG emissions, the government has already implemented a number of reduction initiatives in this sector.

"Through this ambitious target, Québec is showing its partners and the international community that it is fully committed to assuming its share of responsibility. By continuing to demonstrate strong leadership, we hope to change the position of the federal government leading up to the Copenhagen Conference," Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks Line Beauchamp.

By 2020, additional major investments will be required to improve the availability of mass transit options and encourage increased use of intermodal transportation of goods. The upcoming introduction of a GHG emission standard for light-duty vehicles, equivalent to the California standard, will mean significant vehicle energy performance improvements throughout the province.

Québec is also building on the rapid progress of electric vehicle technologies to encourage use of electric vehicles in the province and develop Québec's expertise in this future sector.

Achieving the goal depends on introducing a greenhouse gas cap and trade system in 2012. In June 2009, the province's National Assembly passed legislation for climate change, through which it will contribute to implementing the largest GHG cap and trade system in North America, currently being developed with partners of the Western Climate Initiative.

Premier Charest said these actions will set the stage for a flourishing green economy by the year 2020 and will gradually reduce Québec's economic dependence on foreign oil. It will also soften the economic impact of the anticipated oil crisis in the decades to come and improve Québec's trade balance.

The Premier had a strong message for the federal government when he unveiled the Québec's position. Quoted in a Globe and Mail article he said at a news conference after his announcement "There's the threat of economic reprisals if we don't follow the path being set in Copenhagen. This is real, this is not fiction. ... Our economy rest on exports and on natural resources. For us, the consequences would be very serious."

The Premier will co-chair the Third Leaders Summit in Copenhagen along with South Australia Premier Mike Rann.

Source: www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca