Québec, September 30, 2016 – The close collaboration that has been established between Québec, California and Ontario to fight climate change is intensifying and at the same time raising Canada’s ambition level in fighting climate change. That is what came out of the discussions that took place during an event organized by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change held yesterday in Toronto, in which Minister David Heurtel and California’s Secretary for Environmental Protection, Matt Rodriquez, took part.
The Québec Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, David Heurtel, Secretary Rodriguez, and the Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glen Murray, explained how the strong partnership between the three federated states, particularly with respect to implementing the Québec-California-Ontario carbon market, contributed positively to the dialogue initiated with other states regarding the expansion of carbon markets throughout the world. An example to consider is the role that Québec and Ontario have played vis-a-vis the other Canadian provinces and the federal government with a view to adopting the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change.
Speaking to an audience composed of some fifty representatives from the government, the financial sector, environmental groups and Ontario businesses, Minister Heurtel explained that with the upcoming addition of Ontario to the Québec-California carbon market, it will cover an area inhabited by over 60% of the Canadian population and that represents an annual GDP of almost 56% of Canada’s GDP. “The Québec-California carbon market is already considered one of the world’s most effective. With Ontario, its scope will be even greater, and we will be better able to achieve our greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction objectives. Like California in the United States, our two governments are making an extremely concrete contribution to the efforts that Canada must deploy to help achieve the objectives of the Paris agreement, namely limiting global warming to under two degrees Celsius,” stated Minister Heurtel.
It should be recalled that, on March 3, the federal, provincial and territorial first ministers signed the Vancouver Declaration on Clean Growth and Climate Change, in which they agreed to work together to raise Canada’s ambition level in the fight against climate change by adopting a broad range of appropriate measures, including mechanisms for establishing carbon pricing.
“The Vancouver Declaration states that it is up to the provinces and territories to choose ways to reduce their GHG emissions. Therefore, we are confident that we will see the federal government respect the decision made by Québec and Ontario, that wish to pursue their carbon market activities, which we believe is the best way to ensure GHG reduction,” said Minister Heurtel.
The Minister informed the audience of the reasons that prompted Québec to make the cap-and-trade system for GHG emission allowances, or “carbon market,” the spearhead of its approach in the fight against climate change: “The carbon market establishes clear objectives for emitters and thereby provides governments with the guarantee that they will succeed in reducing GHG emissions – something a tax cannot do.”
Moreover, revenue generated by the carbon market is fully reinvested in the transition to a low-carbon and innovative society, thus increasing Québec’s expertise in several sectors, including the green technology sector. As examples, the Minister cited the Lion Bus Company, which designs all-electric school buses, and AddÉnergie, which develops electric charging stations.
The carbon market has been linked to California’s since January 1, 2014, and to date has generated over 1.2 billion dollars in revenue for Québec. All of its revenue is paid into the Green Fund for implementing measures contained in the 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan (2013-2020 CCAP). The plan aims to reduce GHG emissions in Québec to 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 and improve Québec’s capacity to adapt to the impacts of climate change. Several measures support public and alternative transportation, transportation electrification and technological innovation, particularly in the green technology sector. By 2020, more than 3.3 billion dollars will be invested in Québec to accelerate GHG emission reduction and increase Québec society’s resilience to climate change.
“The carbon market is a flexible high-performing economic tool, both environmentally and economically. It must be based on concerted and coherent action with a maximum number of partners. It is in this way that we will accelerate the transition to a modern, prosperous and low-carbon economy. Let’s fight climate change together to ensure a better quality of life for our children. Let’s do it for them!,” concluded Minister Heurtel.
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