Canada: Le Québec Priorise Le Climat Dans Un Plan Vert Redéfini
À l'automne 2020, le gouvernement du Québec qui s'est dépeint comme un gouvernement de centre droit pragmatique a fait une chose que peu de gens pensaient probable lorsque François Legault et son parti CAQ ont été élus le 1er octobre 2018 : il a placé l'environnement et la lutte contre les changements climatiques au cœur du développement économique du Québec pour les prochaines décennies.
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In the fall of 2020, the self-avowed no-nonsense centre-right government of Québec did something few people thought likely when François Legault and his CAQ party were elected on October 1, 2018: they placed the environment and the fight against climate change at the heart of Québec's economic development for the next several decades.
On October 22, 2020, the Québec National Assembly adopted the awkwardly named “Act primarily aimed at effective governance in the fight against climate change and promoting electrification.” Among other things, the Act grants the Minister of the Environment a horizontal mandate across government when it comes to matters relating to climate change. It also renames and refocuses the Green Fund. It will be known as the Electrification Fund, with a mandate to spend on electrification projects. Annually, the fund receives about $1 billion from Québec's cap-and-trade system. On a per capita basis, Québec's fund is far larger than the Federal Low Carbon Economy Fund.
On October 29, 2020, the Québec Government released the Québec Plan for the Development of Critical and Strategic Minerals (2020-2025), or “CSM Plan”. The CSM Plan fosters the exploration, production, and recycling of minerals essential to a green economy. The goal is to create a vertically integrated, green industrial supply chain in Québec.
On November 17, 2020, Premier Legault and Environment Minister Benoît Charette unveiled the 2030 Plan for a Green Economy (the “Green Plan”).
The Green Plan presents environmental protection as an economic opportunity rather than a burden and is written in a positive style meant to appeal to entrepreneurs and investors. The Green Plan builds upon Québec's electricity sector (99% renewable) with a view of reducing greenhouse gas (“GHG”) emissions by 37.5% below 1990 levels and achieving net carbon neutrality by 2050. To do this, the Green Plan rolls out a wide array of initiatives.
One standout initiative is the electrification of transportation, as transportation is the province's largest source of GHG emissions (43.3% in 2017) and is greater than the next two GHG sources combined: industry (30.5%) and buildings (10.3%). Québec aims to have 1.5 million electric vehicles on Québec roads by 2030 and, like California, Québec will prohibit the sale of new internal combustion passenger vehicles from 2035.
In addition, the Québec government will lead by example: its entire fleet of cars, SUVs and minivans will be electric by 2030, as will be 55% of city buses and 65% of school buses. These measures will have the added benefit of helping to reduce Québec's oil consumption by a minimum of 40% by 2030 and reducing Québec's commercial trade deficit, as oil accounts for 57% of that deficit.
The Green Plan is meant to be a five-year rolling plan, updated yearly to take into account technology improvements and shifting opportunities. At this time, the technology exists to allow Québec to meet its first set of climate objectives.