NEW YORK –
With Premier François Legault set to speak about the environment at the United Nations in New York this week, environmental groups are warning that Quebec must do more to fight climate change.
Greenpeace Canada’s Climate-Energy Campaigner, Patrick Bonin, says he is surprised that the Quebec Premier has been invited to speak at the Climate Ambition Summit.
“His overall work and record clearly do not make Quebec a climate leader. Emissions are rising in the transportation sector. Emissions in industry are not going down either,” he said.
Premier Legault has been invited by Secretary General Antonio Guterres to attend the UN General Assembly and participate in the first Summit on Climate Ambition on Wednesday.
“This is no longer a time for parades and strutting our stuff. It’s time to propose additional measures, and that’s what we want to see from Mr. Legault,” says Patrick Bonin.
Quebec’s current target is to reduce its GHG emissions by 37.5 per cent by 2030. According to Leïla Cantave, the Quebec representative of Climate Action Network Canada, Quebec needs to raise its target.
“These figures are based on 2015 IPCC recommendations. What it has to do is update this reduction target. We, at the Climate Action Network, are asking for 65 per cent,” said Cantave, who is also in New York to put pressure on political decision-makers.
“If we look at emissions in Quebec, they are not being drastically and rapidly reduced. Quebec is not on track to meet its 2030 target,” Greenpeace’s Bonin.
Quebec is also aiming for carbon neutrality by 2050.
Bonin acknowledges, however, that Quebec has made some good strides in the fight against climate change.
He pointed to the addition of charging stations for electric vehicles and the end of oil and gas exploration and production.
To this he adds the rejection of the Quebec LNG project in the Saguenay, and the abandonment of the third highway link between Quebec City and Lévis.
“But we’re a long way from cutting our teeth on that front, that’s for sure,” he added.
Legault and Environment Minister Benoit Charette, who is accompanying him, will present Quebec’s major orientations in the fight against climate change and take part in a round table discussion with members of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA), of which Quebec is a member.
Premier Legault’s presence at the United Nations is a first step towards the 28th UN Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 28), to be held from Nov. 30 to Dec. 12 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The Climate Ambition Summit celebrates state, civil society and business leaders who are “leading the way in taking credible and concrete action to reach the Paris Agreement’s 1.5 degree Celsius target and bring climate justice to those hit hardest by the climate crisis,” according to a UN explanatory document.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Sept. 18, 2023.