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The Québec Action Plan on Climate Change 2000-2002

CONCRETE MEASURES TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS

Québec, October 13, 2000 – The Minister of the Environment, Paul Bégin, and the Minister of Natural Resources, Jacques Brassard, have just made public the Québec Action Plan on Climate Change 2000-2002.

"The reduction of greenhouse gases is a priority of the Québec Government and the Action Plan made public today is certainly indicative of the importance given to this issue," mentioned the two Ministers. The Action Plan contains 37 measures that affect different sectors of activity. Moreover, the Government will set the example by dealing with emissions that result from its own activities. Québec wants to send out a clear signal to the various concerned parties by committing itself to a firm approach to the reduction of greenhouse gases.

"Québec produces half as much greenhouse gases as that of the average of the other provinces, and that, essentially as a result of its substantial use of hydroelectricity to meet a large part of the energy needs. It does not mean however that we can forgo our responsibility to take immediate action in the fight against climate change. On the contrary, we want (and have) to intensify our actions and expand on them by addressing other sectors of activity," added Minister Brassard.

"The Québec Action Plan proposes a series of orientations and actions that acknowledges results already obtained thus far. It intends to get additional reductions from the major greenhouse gas producers and to level off the ascending curve of transport-related emissions. In fact, many concrete measures support our objective to reduce greenhouse gas emissions resulting from public and freight transportation," explained Minister Bégin.

The Government will set the example

The Government will set the example by dealing with emissions resulting from its own activities. To reduce greenhouse gas emission sources in the public sector, it intends to:

  • Implement a program to reduce by 20% the level of greenhouse gas emissions in some 14,000 public buildings by the year 2008;
  • Improve energy efficiency by 20% in its fleet, represented by some 5,300 vehicles, by the year 2005;
  • Create an Employer Program to promote the use of mass transit or car-pooling to its own employees.

Take Action in the transportation sector

In Québec, the transportation sector is both the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions and the sector that has experienced the highest increase. In 1998, the transportation sector accounted for 38% of the total emissions. Consequently, many measures contained within the Action Plan target the improvement of our activities by:

  • The establishment of a mandatory inspection and maintenance program for light- and heavy-duty vehicles. This multiphase program will come into force in 2002. The first phase will apply to all heavy-duty vehicles throughout Québec and to light-duty vehicles of the Montréal region. Subsequent phases will cover the other regions of Québec;
  • The completion of a feasibility study on the implementation of a tax charge and rebate program on the purchase of new light-duty vehicles, based on the level of greenhouse gas emissions that the vehicle generates;
  • The implementation of a pilot project for the training of teamsters and trucking operators to provide the skills needed to ensure energy-efficient and environmentally friendly practices, optimal decision-making regarding loads and itineraries, and more fuel-efficient means of transportation.

The Québec Government will maintain its efforts by introducing new support measures for ridesharing, which will be added to those already announced by the Minister of Transports in the infrastructures of mass transit for the 2000-2005 period. These measures will include steps to:

  • Develop new financing formulas for transportation lines (e.g., mass transit);
  • Encourage employers to implement measures to reduce mileage;
  • Complete an outreach and information program to promote mass transit and other more environmentally friendly means of travel.

Support the industries

Because of its use of hydroelectricity and biomass-based energy, among others, the industrial sector has recorded, since 1990, a decrease in its level of emissions. Additional efforts must be made however since this sector remains the second most important source of greenhouse gases in Québec with 33% of its total emissions in 1998. To meet its new objectives, the Government will:

  • Undertake negotiations with industrial associations and the major businesses to reach voluntary agreements to reduce greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Strengthen the Programme d’enregistrement volontaire des mesures de réduction des gaz à effet de serre (the ÉcoGESte program—a registry program for voluntary measures taken by organizations and companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions) in order to promote appropriate actions and interesting initiatives and establish a Programme de protection du niveau de reference ("Reference Level Protection Program"), which will enable businesses to record their emissions since 1990 up until 2008;
  • Implement a trading permits regime in Québec between polluting and less-polluting organizations.

Improve the environmental performance of landfills

To control and reduce the amount of biogases released from landfills, the Government will establish a mandatory implementation of biogas capture and treatment systems in all new burial sites.

Increase public and youth awareness

The fight against climate change calls for an increase in public awareness on the major commitments contained within the Action Plan. To this end, the Government intends to complete a vast outreach and information campaign aimed at the general public. Furthermore, educational activities will be developed to incite young people to make proactive and positive changes in their daily activities.

Improve knowledge and support research

To improve the level of expertise in Québec on climate and water changes in order to determine their impacts and define their adaptation needs, the following actions will be carried out:

  • The development of analytical tools in order to predict the apprehended changes and their consequences;
  • The updating of the climate and water resources monitoring network to monitor and analyze trends;
  • The consolidation of the forest ecosystem survey and monitoring network for a better understanding of forest ecosystems.

The Government will support, through various funds and programs, research, development, and demonstration of technologies that contribute to the fight against greenhouse gases. It also intends to control the use of refrigerant gases. A planting program of species that grow rapidly on wild lands unsuitable for agriculture is also expected. The Government will encourage the use of renewable energy resources, such as hydroelectricity, wind- and biomass-based energy.

"This first phase of the Action Plan will contribute to Québec’s fight against greenhouse gases. It will lead to positive impacts on health issues and on our quality of life. Moreover, by making immediate investments in improving the effectiveness of our means of transport, in incorporating proactive and positive activities into our daily lives, and in promoting research and development, Québec not only has the necessary means to reverse the trend, it also offers an interesting potential for economic development. Let’s not forget that we have much to gain in being trendsetters," concluded Ministers Brassard and Bégin.

The Québec Action Plan on Climate Change 2000-2002 may be consulted on the Web sites of the Ministère de l’Environnement and the Ministère des Ressources naturelles at the following addresses:

http://www.menv.gouv.qc.ca/air/changement/plan_action/index.htm  (French)
http://www.menv.gouv.qc.ca/air/changement/plan_action/index-en.htm (English)
http://www.mrnfp.gouv.qc.ca

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SOURCE :
Caroline Drouin
Press Secretary
Minister of the Environment
Tel.: (418) 521-3911
Louise B. Accolas
Press Secretary
Minister of Natural Resources
Tel.: (418) 643-7295


INFORMATION :
Rolande Laveau
Information Officer
Ministère de l’Environnement
Tel.: (418) 521-3823, ext. 4494
Jacques Duval
Information Officer
Ministère des Ressources naturelles
Tel.: (418) 627-8609, ext. 3017
 

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