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Press Release

ministeR heurtel aFFIRMED QUÉBEC’S leadership IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CLIMATE CHANGE
 AT THE lima CONFERENCE

Québec, December 15, 2014 – Returning from the 20th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Lima, Peru, the Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, David Heurtel, confirmed his satisfaction at the work achieved by the Québec delegation, which increased the visibility of Québec’s innovative climate change action, strengthened the unification of sub-national efforts in this field and led to fruitful dialogue among the many actors in attendance that were involved in climate negotiations.

“I am very pleased at our discussions with the various ministers and delegates from states, provinces and regions during the mission. Our conversations led to tangible results and, in particular, to the signature of a joint statement, an agreement as well as a letter of intent that will have positive repercussions on sub-national governmental action in the coming months, and will enable us to strengthen our relationships with partners that, like Québec, have made this important challenge a priority,” stated Minister Heurtel.

At a variety of public venues, the Minister affirmed the importance of pricing carbon and incorporating market mechanisms into the next climate agreement, which is expected to be signed in Paris in December, 2015. The Government of Québec has chosen to make its cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emission allowances the centrepiece of its strategy to fight climate change, and a springboard for re-launching Québec’s economy based on sustainable development. Minister Heurtel listed recent developments relating to the implementation of the Québec-California carbon market, including the first joint auction sale that was successfully held on November 25 of this year. He also encouraged other governments attending the conference to adopt similar market mechanisms in their respective jurisdictions. “There is an urgent need to factor the costs associated with GHG emissions into the economy, not only in order to reduce these emissions, but also to reinforce the capacity of the economy to evolve in a 21st century that will have to be less and less reliant on carbon,” said Minister Heurtel at a side-event of the International Action Carbon Partnership (ICAP) event where he was the guest of honour along with British Columbia Environment Minister Mary Polak.

The two ministers, as well as their Ontario counterpart, Glenn Murray, reiterated their common will to increase joint cooperation to strengthen dialogue throughout Canada on fighting climate change and the international role to be played by sub-national governments. The three ministers also took advantage of their attendance at the Lima conference to publish, along with California, a joint statement in which they affirmed their common commitment to the worldwide fight against climate change.

The crucial role of sub-national governments

Actions taken by North American sub-national governments in their respective jurisdictions were front and centre at the North American Sub-National collaboration on Climate Change Mitigation conference, which was jointly organized by The Climate Registry and Climate Action Reserve.

During the General Meeting of the Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance, Québec Premier Philippe Couillard was reconfirmed as the alliance’s co-chair for the next two years, sharing this role with representatives of the Basque Country and South Australia. The Climate Group is a non-profit organisation that brings together some 150 members – subnational governments, regions, cities, companies and public figures – to advance its mission of accelerating the development of a low-carbon world economy.

Minister Heurtel also signed the Compact of States and Regions agreement on behalf of the Government of Québec, thus materializing the commitment made by the Premier of Québec at the September 2014 United Nations Climate Summit in New York City. The agreement seeks to create an international platform for promoting the various GHG emission reduction targets and climate change policies of subnational governments.

“What will be the shared Francophone vision for the post-2020 agreement?” was the main question debated at an event organized by the Institut de la Francophonie pour le développement durable (IFDD). “Québec has high hopes for the climate agreement that will be adopted in Paris,” said Minister Heurtel. “We believe that the agreement must not only recognize the capacity of sub-national governments such as Québec to act to protect the climate, but in fact strengthen it. We also want market mechanisms – including those implemented by sub-national governments – to be recognized in the agreement as an efficient economic tool for reducing GHG emissions,” the Minister continued, adding that the agreement could make a major contribution to developing standards and practices for linking carbon markets.

Electrification of transportation and innovation for a carbon-light future

The Carbon Action Reserve organized an event devoted to the electrification of transportation. Accounting for more than 50 % all electric vehicle sales Canada-wide, Québec plays a leading role in this field. Minister Heurtel stressed that “the electrification of transportation is a promising niche for Québec and opens the door to the expansion of the manufacturing industry, job creation, innovation, and improved economic competitiveness.” The meeting led to the signature of a letter of intent by Québec and California regarding more sustained collaboration in the field of the electrification of transportation.

On the sidelines of the COP-20 Conference, the Minister participated in a number of networking activities that led to fruitful exchanges. At a joint meeting between Québec, Ontario and California, discussions turned to the potential for increasing trade, innovation and economic development in sectors with a low-carbon footprint. Minister Heurtel also held meetings with the Honorable Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s federal Minister of the Environment, as well as with Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, Kyle Fawcett.  As well, Minister Heurtel met with the head of the White House Council on Environmental Quality, Mike Boots, as well as with Tom Carnac, Senior Advisor to the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Christiana Figueres.

A call to action

“The magnitude of the challenge posed by climate change requires action on an unprecedented scale to engender a new vision of social and economic development throughout the world – the kind of action that reconciles the economy and the environment and ensures a prosperous future for the generations of today and tomorrow. More than ever, we need to make common cause and work together to create a sustainable, low-carbon world. It is in this very spirit that the Premier of Québec, Philippe Couillard, has invited his provincial and territorial counterparts to attend a Summit on climate change in April, 2015. The responsibility for action falls on all of us, both individually and collectively. Above and beyond words, we need to pave our way to the Paris conference of 2015 with concrete commitments. This was the message brought by Québec to Lima, and it was heard loud and clear,” Minister Heurtel concluded.

– 30 –

SOURCE:

Marie-Catherine Leduc
Assistant Press Officer
Office of the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment
and the Fight against Climate Change
Phone: 418 521-3911

INFORMATION:

Media Relations
Ministère du Développement durable,
de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre
les changements climatiques
Phone: 418 521-3991


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