(Quebec) “There are no new restrictions” for individuals in the Legault government’s green plan, due to be filed in the fall. The Minister for the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Benoit Charette, instead relies on incentives to push Quebecers to change their habits to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Posted September 5, 2020 at 5:00 AM
“We don’t mobilize people with blows on the fingers,” he said in an interview. So this is not a coercive plan ”, whether through taxes, tariffs or otherwise.
Like his Transport colleague, François Bonnardel, he is against the idea of levying a $ 50 per vehicle registration tax in Montreal suburbs to fund public transportation, an idea from the Regional Metropolitan Transport Authority and the Montreal Metropolitan Community. This tax has existed for motorists in Montreal for several years.
The “Green Economy Plan” has “improved” since its contents were unveiled by La Presse last spring, says Benoit Charette. He explains in substance that, if orientations remain the same, concrete measures for the next five years will be revealed at the same time, within an implementation policy spread over five years.
The Green Economy Plan represents the government’s strategy to meet its greenhouse gas reduction target, a 37.5% reduction by 2030 from 1990 levels. We focus in particular on the electrification of transportation and conversion. heating systems on fossil fuels, such as heating oil.
However, an expert consulted by La Presse, Pierre-Olivier Pineau, professor at HEC Montréal and holder of the chair in Energy Sector Management, concluded that the plan delivered a 16.45 megatonnes reduction in greenhouse gases, ie a 24% reduction, not 37.5%.
He was right when he said we didn’t have 100% of the efforts identified, and we assume that, because we want to associate the process with precise measures and precise budgets.
Benoit Charette, Minister for the Environment and the fight against climate change
The minister assures us that the implementation plan and policy will achieve the target. He adds that an annual accountability report will measure whether the government is “going in the right direction.”
The minister “fully” acknowledges that there is still a lot of skepticism about the Coalition’s green shift in the future Quebec. “This is an area where you can never gather everyone. People, especially in the environment, don’t want to be convinced. So no matter what is done, there will always be dissatisfied people, ”he says.
The Green Economy Plan will have an envelope of just over $ 6 billion over five years, as indicated in the Girard budget. This amount is guaranteed, the minister assures, even though public finances have since plunged into the red due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Autumn will be very busy for Benoit Charette. He has only just emerged from a marathon in the National Assembly: after more than 100 hours of debate, delegates have just completed the detailed study of his bill 44, which reforms the Green Fund. The minister will have full control over the pot and two organizations, the Green Fund Management Board and Transition Énergie Québec, will be disbanded. The bill “gives a lot of power” to the minister, but there are “safeguards”, he emphasizes. A Scientific Committee, whose advice will be made public, and the Sustainable Development Commissioner will keep a close watch.
Reported every year by the carbon market, a cap and trade system for greenhouse gas emissions allowances between companies. This largely finances the Green Fund.
After a “dramatic” auction last spring, in the midst of a pandemic, “we are now not worried” about revenue imports, the minister said.
He emphasizes that this market in itself is “an existing constraint” for companies, while the citizen pays the price at the gas station. There is no need to add more coercive measures, he said.
After approval of bill 44, Benoit Charette will continue to discuss another legal text, concerning protected areas, this one (bill 46). Quebec is lagging behind in creating such areas.
The minister will also introduce a bill to introduce a deposit of 25 cents on bottles of wine and spirits and 10 cents on all ready-to-use containers from 100 ml to 2 L – such as water bottles and plastic juice and milk cartons. The measure will come into effect gradually from the fall of 2022, after the general election.