Québec, July 10, 2015 – Back from a June 29-July 2 mission in France, the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Mr. David Heurtel, expressed his satisfaction at the great interest elicited by Québec’s climate change action and achievements during his meetings in Paris and at the World Summit Climate & Territories in Lyon.
"Québec’s participation in the Lyon World Summit Climate & Territories was very beneficial, since it enabled us to affirm the crucial role played by states and regions in this arena and the importance of incorporating carbon pricing into the world economy to efficiently fight climate change," Minister Heurtel stated.
Québec’s leading role and the importance of including states and regions in the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-21) was underlined by the President of the French Republic, Mr. François Hollande, on the opening day of the Summit. It is also worth recalling that the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Mrs. Christiana Figueres, recognized the essential role of states and regions at the April 2015 Québec Summit on Climate Change by proposing that a full-day session be held to showcase their actions at COP-21.
Quebec was also well represented at the Lyon Summit by the Regroupement national des conseils régionaux de l’environnement (RNCREQ), Ecotech Québec and La coopérative Forêt d’Arden, which all presented their initiatives to help reducing GHG emissions.
The Carbon Market: a Tool for Green Economic Development
Minister Heurtel participated in a number of events during the Lyon Summit, including the "Low carbon economy and jobs" workshop, where he presented the environmental and economic benefits of the carbon market, which is one of the leading measures implemented by Québec in its fight against climate change. "Through its Green Fund, whose income derives mainly from the carbon market, Québec supports Québec companies, municipalities and citizens in transitioning to a low carbon economy. Estimated at 3.3 billion dollars by 2020, these funds are allocated to the 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan and are a powerful motor for economic development and job creation," the Minister added.
In addition to these public events, Minister Heurtel took part in the Climate Group’s States & Regions Alliance Round Table, which was chaired by the Premier of South Australia, Mr. Jay Weatherill, and attended by Climate Group CEO Mark Kenber and Basque Minister for Environment, Mrs Ana Oregi. The Round Table dealt with expectations and messages in the run-up to COP-21 in Paris. French Ambassador Laurence Tubiana, who is in charge of her country’s climate change negotiations at the 21st Conference of the Parties also attended, as did Christiana Figueres and many members of the Climate Group.
A number of bilateral meetings were also on Minister Heurtel’s agenda, including talks with the President of the Rhône-Alpes Region and Co-chair of the World Summit Climate & Territories, Mr. Jean-Jacques Queyranne; Vice-President of the Rhône-Alpes Region for International Relations, Mr. Bernard Soulages; and French Senator Ronan Dantec from the Loire-Atlantique region, Summit Co-Chair and coauthor of the "Les collectivités territoriales dans la perspective de Paris Climat 2015 : de l’acteur local au facilitateur global" (Territorial jurisdictions in the perspective of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference: from local actors to worldwide facilitators) report. Minister Heurtel also held meetings with Welsh Minister for Housing and Regeneration Carl Sargeant, Scottish Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Aileen McLeod,California Secretary for Environmental Protection Matt Rodriquez, Mayor Anne Hidalgo and President of the Fondation Nicolas Hulot and special envoy for the protection of the plane, Mr Nicolas Hulot. The frontline role played by infranational governments in worldwide efforts to fight climate change, the implementation of carbon markets and the electrification of transportation, all of which are powerful tools for economic development in Québec, were central to these discussions.
In addition, the Minister met with the Minister Delegate in Charge of Environment and Minister of Energy, Mining, Water and Environment of Morocco, Mrs. Hakima El Haite and with Luxembourg’s Minister for the Environment, Mrs. Carole Dieschbourg. The meetings discussed Québec’s action to fight climate change and the fundamental role played by infranational governments.
Furthermore, French media took an interest in Québec’s actions and achievements in the fight against climate change. Minister Heurtel gave ten interviews to leading journalists from media such as the Challenges economic magazine, La Tribune newspaper, the Public Sénat political news channel and Agence France-Presse, in which he described the opportunities made possible by the carbon market.
The June 29-30 Paris Mission
The Minister’s participation in the Lyon Summit was preceded by two days of meetings in Paris, during which he held discussions with experts from CDC Climat, which is a Caisse des Dépôts subsidiary dedicated to climate change issues, as well as with members of the Cercle des dirigeants d’entreprises franco-québécois. In addition to presenting Québec’s action to fight climate change, Minister Heurtel recalled Québec’s objectives for the future climate agreement and in particular its goal of encouraging carbon pricing integration into the world economy.
The Minister also met with Paris the head of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Environment Directorate, Mr. Simon Upton. Minister Heurtel also held discussions with Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the OECD, Mrs Michelle d'Auray. In addition to presenting the green economic development tools in Québec, the carbon market and Green Fund, the Minister used this opportunity to reaffirm the Government of Québec’s desire to explore new environmental and sustainable development cooperative initiatives with the OECD.
"It is essential that the international community reach an ambitious agreement in December, since the future of our planet depends on the commitments we will make. This short stay in France enabled us to share our respective visions, but especially to move discussions forward in the right direction. Working together, we can fight climate change and ensure a better quality of life for our children," concluded the Minister.
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