Quebec has proposed to cut its GHG emissions by 37.5% below 1990 levels, the most ambitious target yet for a Canadian province, and will hold parliamentary committee consultations on the goal in an effort to formalise it before November’s UN climate summit in Paris.
The proposal was made via a white paper tabled in the National Assembly – Quebec’s legislative body – by environment and climate change minister David Heurtel, he said on Thursday.
Transportation and construction are two key areas that will be targeted, he added.
Quebec’s draft target is slightly more ambitious than neighbour Ontario’s proposed goal to cut GHGs by 37% over the next 15 years, and was based on recommendations made by a provincial committee on climate change composed of representatives from industry, academia and green groups.
The committee had also suggested targets of -35% and -40%.
Quebec operates an emissions trading that is linked to California’s and soon to be connected to an impending carbon market in Ontario, all under the Western Climate Initiative (WCI).
The deeper target could translate into more cuts being outsourced to California as virtually all of Quebec’s power comes from hydro, meaning reducing emissions further could come with a hefty price tag.
Heurtel told Carbon Pulse in May that linking to California allows its industry to meet their CO2 caps more cheaply through purchasing allowances as California’s emitters invest in abatement, while helping the province secure growth opportunities far into the future.
Quebec has already adopted a series of GHG reduction targets. It has pledged to cut emissions by 20% below 1990 levels by 2020 – a goal it said it is on track to meeting.
“Even though its carbon footprint is already among the smallest in North America, Quebec was successful in reducing its GHG emissions by 8% in 2012, compared to 1990 levels, thus exceeding its original goal of 2% for that year,” the government said in a statement on Thursday, declining to cite more recent data.
Quebec has also joined other sub-national governments in committing to reduce its emissions by 80-95% by 2050 through the Under 2 MOU programme.
In addition, it has partnered with ten other states and provinces to set a regional GHG emissions reduction target of 35-45% below 1990 levels by 2030 for eastern Canada and the north-eastern US.
By Mike Szabo – firstname.lastname@example.org