Tell us about Québec’s journey to a net zero future
The climate disasters that are multiplying year after year around the world are telling us that the time has come for concrete, targeted action. Québec has understood this for several years and has adopted coordinated measures to match its climate and economic ambitions. In fact, Québec has one of the best per capita greenhouse gasses (GHG) rate in North America and is aiming for net zero in 2050.
The first of those was to put a price on carbon in 2007 through a carbon levy and, in 2013, through a carbon market, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. This flagship carbon pricing mechanism has enabled Québec to meet two of its main objectives:
- To signal to its economic sectors its determination to move towards a low-carbon economy;
- To provide financial support to all economic players to facilitate a fair and equitable transition for the Québec economy.
This means 100% of the revenue generated by Québec's carbon market has been reinvested in policies to reduce GHG emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. These investments of around one billion US dollars annually have enabled us to reduce our carbon footprint, but they also contributed to a major economic boom in electric mobility in Québec.
Why did Québec decide to join the Under2 Coalition?
This coalition of ambitious subnational governments has been a source of inspiration for Québec. Thanks to its different focus areas and activities, we have been able to draw on international best practices to learn and improve our actions in real time; a goldmine for all governments wishing to move quickly and decisively to effect much needed change.
“Being a member of the Under2 Coalition has been a source of inspiration for Québec. Thanks to its different focus areas and activities, we have been able to draw on international best practices to learn and improve our actions in real time; a goldmine for all governments wishing to move quickly and decisively to effect much needed change.”
-Benoit Charette, Minister for the Environment, the Fight against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks, Québec
What has this enabled Québec to achieve?
As early as 2011, the Québec government introduced targeted programs to provide financial support to stimulate the demand for electric vehicles, and to encourage the development and deployment of this new technology. This strategy has had positive results, as today in Québec we build almost every category of electric vehicle: heavy-duty vehicles for passengers and goods, municipal tool vehicles, on-road and off-road recreational vehicles, as well as the charging infrastructure to power them. As a result, the e-mobility sector has become an important part of Québec’s economy and it is still growing.
Thanks to these major investments in the climate transition, we have positioned ourselves as a key player in the e-mobility industry in North America. More than ever, the fight against climate change is synonymous with sustainable development, and Québec is a concrete example of this.
In addition to these investments, we have made sure that our public policies are consistent with our vision. For example, we adopted Canada's very first zero-emission vehicle standard (ZEV standard), as well as a regulation requiring school buses to be electric, and we will shortly be launching a national EV charging strategy. We have also signalled our firm intention to move away from our dependence on fossil fuels by adopting legislation to put an end to hydrocarbon exploration and production as well as to public funding of these activities in Québec - a world first for a sub-national government.
A vision for the future, transformational actions, informed decisions and sustained collaboration: these are Québec's keys to a successful climate transition.