Québec, November 3, 2015 – Back in Québec after a mission to Seattle, the Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, David Heurtel, can happily report that a high level of interest in Québec’s action to fight climate change was evident during his meetings in Seattle and at the 6th Washington’s Energy Future Conference. Minister Heurtel was the keynote speaker at the conference, which was hosted by the Northwest Environmental Business Council (NEBC) in cooperation with the Washington State Department of Commerce and which drew some 350 delegates from the energy and business sectors, as well as political decision-makers who are steadfastly working towards the development of a low-carbon economy.
“Québec is an acknowledged world leader in clean energy, thanks mainly to its hydro power. Taking advantage of this expertise, our government has made the electrification of transportation a priority that can reconcile economic development with our action to fight climate change. This is a unique opportunity that Québec must seize so that we can fight climate change together and ensure that our children have a better quality of life,” stressed Minister Heurtel, who presented the thrust of the 2015–2020 Transportation Electrification Action Plan that was recently unveiled by the Government of Québec.
Minister Heurtel also took this opportunity to present Québec’s green economic growth tools such as the carbon market, which is the spearhead of the government’s approach to climate change. “Thanks to the Green Fund, whose income is mainly derived from the carbon market, Québec is positioning itself as a leader among sub-national governments by supporting Québec businesses, municipalities and private citizens in transitioning to a low-carbon world. Estimated at 3.3 billion dollars by 2020, the amounts dedicated to the 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan constitute a powerful engine for economic relaunch and job creation while contributing to our goals in the fight against climate change,” the Minister stated.
Minister Heurtel underlined the growing interest in Québec’s carbon market and summarized Québec’s approaches to other countries, U.S. states and Canadian provinces to win over more partners. Ontario has already announced its intention to join the Québec-California carbon market, while New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently expressed his desire to begin a conversation with Québec and with California and other states, aimed at extending the scope of the carbon market. Additionally, Premier Philippe Couillard and the President of Mexico signed an agreement to strengthen climate change cooperation between Mexico and Québec. Also, the minister Heurtel met recently with a delegation of the National Development and Reform Commission of the Republic of China’s Climate Change Department to share the Québec carbon market experience and to discuss collaboration in the fight against climate change.
On the sidelines of the event, Minister Heurtel met with major figures and representatives of key State of Washington organizations, renewing his conversations with Governor Jay Inslee and his carbon market political advisor, Chris Davis and asking what the state governor’s climate change action intentions were, as well as his plans for the 21st Conference of the Parties, which will be held this December in Paris. The Minister also held meetings with representatives of member organizations of the Alliance for Jobs and Clean Energy and with the CEO of Washington Utilities & Transportation, David Danner.
Interested in questions dealing with sustainable city development and green buildings, Minister Heurtel was able to meet with Western Washington Clean Cities Coalition coordinators Scott DeWees and Kimberly Kline to discuss practices that encourage the use of alternate fuels in transportation.
Finally, the Minister gave an interview to Bill Peters, from Argus Media.
Québec on the road to Paris
Québec is actively preparing for the Paris climate conference, to be held from November 30 to December 11. Premier Philippe Couillard will head the Québec delegation, which will also include Minister Heurtel.
It is of note that the consultations aimed at setting a new greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction target by 2030, which the government has suggested should be 37.5% below 1990 levels, are now over. The choice of the target will be announced shortly.
“States and Regions have a crucial role to play if we are to fight climate change effectively. With its credible and ambitious GHG reduction goals, Québec intends to make a positive contribution to worldwide efforts in this area. We are happy to share our experience with others, as we are convinced that working together is the best way to fight climate change.” concluded the Minister.
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