The carbon balances of States, regions, cities, institutions and enterprises are under careful scrutiny and there is growing pressure for measures that will encourage a transition to ever-cleaner energy forms. Decarbonisation is an ongoing process in economies throughout the world, bringing with it not only technological innovation but also financial and social innovation. How far has Québec progressed with the decarbonisation of its economy? What public policies, regulations and financial tools have been introduced to speed up the energy transition, and what impacts have they had?
November 19, 2019
Public Policy and Investment
The climate transition: Governance and the drafting of the electrification and climate change plan
In June 2019, the Government of Quebec announced the launch of work to develop the Electrification and Climate Change Plan (ECCP). This plan will demonstrate the commitment to strengthen climate action and foster the involvement of citizens, businesses and municipalities.
In this context, the government has implemented several consultation and solution-finding activities:
The work of expert groups and civil society representatives who will submit reports on the topics of electrification, bioenergy, land use planning and adaptation to climate change, as well as climate funding. A group is also made up of young people, one of whose members participates in the work of the other four groups; A tour by four ministers (the Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Benoit Charette, the Minister of Economy and Innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon, the Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, Jonatan Julien, and the Minister for Regional Economic Development, Marie-Eve Proulx) to meet entrepreneurs, elected officials and organizations from all regions of Quebec; An online public consultation consisting of a call for submissions and a questionnaire to be completed following the reading of an information document; A consultation with the municipal community; An Indigenous consultation; Interdepartmental work involving more than 20 departments and agencies.
The ECCP will be unveiled in early 2020. In a pragmatic approach, it will provide practical and efficient solutions to climate challenges, in particular by increasing export opportunities for the Québec economy. To do so, the government intends to build on Québec’s strengths, primarily its renewable energies, its strong innovation potential and the engagement of its civil society, to place it on decarbonisation and resilience-building paths that are consistent with its 2030 target and longer-term objectives through to 2050.
The development of this plan is also part of a review of climate transition governance that is intended, according to the government’s proposals, to provide more flexibility in the implementation of climate action, by clarifying the roles and responsibilities of the government agencies concerned, and in particular the coordination role that the Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change would play.
Towards the goal of zero emissions: A road map for the new energy revolution
Is climate emergency something real, or is it just a slogan? The speaker will review the fundamental data on the actions needed to reach the objective of the Paris Agreement on climate change, which is to limit global warming to between 1.5 and 2 degrees Celsius. He will also outline trends in the energy revolution which is just beginning. The energy transition is well under way at the technological and financial levels, and will soon transform the way in which we produce and consume energy in buildings, transportation and the whole of our economy. However, there is still a gap between the current pace of the transition and the ability to reach our climate change objectives. We have 10 years to reduce our emissions by half, and 30 years to cut them to zero. The current revolution is unprecedented, but our success will depend on the choices we make over the next five years.
Investing in the Context of Climate Change: The CDPQ’s Strategy
In recent years, efforts in the fight against climate change have led to a series of initiatives in the finance and investment sectors. In Canada, as in other countries throughout the world, organizations and major investors are beginning to play a role in the transition towards a low-carbon economy by introducing measures that will attack this crucial issue and by structuring their corporate investment prospects. This is the case for the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ), which has devised an investment strategy with clear, measurable climate targets, based on a firm belief that climate change should be regarded as an opportunity to do things differently, rather than as a constraint. The speaker will present the CDPQ’s strategy and will give an overview of some current initiatives in the finance sector.