Quebec’s Emissions Targets the Most Aggressive in Canada

Crab Spider

By Jonny Wakefield

September 24, 2015

Quebec’s environment minister has rolled out greenhouse gas reduction targets that would put the province at the front of the pack in Canada as December’s UN climate conference approaches.  

In a white paper released last week, Minister David Heurtel outlined an ambitious plan to reduce the province’s greenhouse gas emissions 37.5 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030. Whether the province settles on that number remains to be seen, with Heurtel saying the exact rate of reductions will be set after consulting with an advisory committee ahead of the Paris climate conference later this year.

“Quebec intends to remain a leader in the fight against climate change,” Heurtel said in a statement. “In addition to contributing to worldwide efforts in this area, setting an ambitious target for 2030 will help us improve the health, safety and quality of life of Quebecers and secure the sustainable development of our economy.”

The 37.5 per cent target would put Quebec just ahead of Ontario, which committed to an interim goal of 37 per cent below 1990 levels in May 2015.

According to the CBC, Quebec would push for action in the transportation and construction sectors, among the province’s heaviest emitters. 

The province currently sits third in total emissions, behind Alberta and Ontario. Quebec is largely dependent on hydroelectric power, according to Environment Canada, which accounts for its mostly stable rate of emissions. However, the province reduced its overall emissions 8.4 per cent between 2005 and 2013, compared to just 2.6 per cent in British Columbia, which instituted a carbon tax in that time. 

Quebec introduced a cap and trade system in 2013, linking it with California a year later to form the largest carbon market in North America, which Ontario is expected to join. Revenue from the market goes into a Green Fund, which is used to pay for green energy projects and upgrades.