Québec, February 6, 2017 – The Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, David Heurtel, was invited to present Québec’s initiatives in the fight against climate change at the VerdeXchange conference held in Los Angeles this week. He also emphasized the leadership role that federated states play in this endeavour, citing as an example the partnership Québec and California have forged to establish their joint carbon market.
“In 2014, Québec and California announced a globally unprecedented partnership to link their carbon markets. The move led to the creation of the largest market in North America and the world’s first to be operated by states in different countries. Since then, our carbon market has made headway. Ontario will join it shortly and other Canadian provinces, U.S. states and countries such as Mexico, Switzerland and China are showing interest,” noted Minister Heurtel.
Speaking during the opening plenary session alongside California State Senators Robert Hertzberg and Bob Wieckowski (who also chairs the Environmental Quality Committee), and California Secretary for Natural Resources John Laird, Minister Heurtel described the Québec-California carbon market as an essential tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) and an effective way to modernize the economy and stimulate innovation.
Later that day, the Minister was a panelist at a luncheon-conference on the theme “Are California and Québec’s Climate and Energy Policies a Drag on their Region’s Economic Growth?” Alongside the Chair of the California Air Resources Board (ARB), Mary Nichols, and the former Mayor of Long Beach, Bob Foster, Minister Heurtel demonstrated that the fight against climate change in a key vector for economic development. “Environment and economy go hand in hand.”
In Québec, 100% of the revenue from the carbon market is paid into the Green Fund, primarily to develop public transportation, foster transportation electrification and the deployment of green technologies, and implement measures to promote energy efficiency and sustainable energy. To date, the carbon market has generated over 1.4 billion dollars in revenue for Québec. By 2020, more than 3.3 billion dollars will have been invested to fight climate change and support the development of new, job-creating technology industries.
In parallel to the conference, the Minister spoke with members of governments and representatives from international companies and agencies. He met with Janea Scott from the California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative, a public-private organization that fosters the adoption of electric vehicles. He also had a meeting with Mary Nichols, and expressed Québec’s desire to continue working closely with California to promote electric vehicles, as it does with respect to the carbon market.
The Minister took advantage of his stay in California to participate in a demonstration of the E-Lion in Palo Alto. The 100% electric school bus is manufactured by Lion Bus, a Québec company, and is financed in part by the Green Fund. He commended the leadership of the company, which has quickly emerged as a North American pioneer in its field. Its vehicles are already available in several Canadian provinces and U.S. states, including Massachusetts and California. The company ultimately wants to provide the United States with a fleet of electric school vehicles, thereby promoting Québec’s technologies and expertise.
The event was held at the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Minister Heurtel was welcomed by the organization’s Director, Mark Duvall, and Program Manager, Dan Bowermaster. The Minister also met with Anthony Eggert, a Director at ClimateWorks Foundation, an organization that seeks to mobilize American and international philanthropic forces in the fight against climate change.
VerdeXchange is an annual international event that, for 10 years, has been bringing together specialists in the energy and clean technology sector and leaders in the business community, as well as elected and senior government officials to facilitate the sharing of best practices, initiatives and technological innovations. Québec was proudly represented at the event again this year. Representatives from three leading Québec companies that are highly active in the United States – Lion Bus, Aquartis and Rackam – participated in panels, where they presented their cutting-edge technologies in transportation electrification, wastewater management and solar energy.
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