As François Legault said at the outset, “the core of our project is the electrification of our economy”. We are therefore not in the traditional dynamic of a Sustainable Development Plan or Green Plan but, in front of a “Green Economy Plan” as it is written and presented”. This explains the confusion and criticisms from the advocates of a “penalizing” approach to climate action.
For a political party that was literally unaware of the magnitude of environmental issues and the urgency to act when it was elected, we can only note the extent of the progress made in the last 2 years: this plan provides $3.6 billion for the electrification of transportation over 5 years, a reduction of 12.4 Mt of GHG emissions by 2030, about half of which will be in the transportation sector. This echoes British Columbia’s Clean BC Plan, which estimates that its transportation initiatives will reduce carbon emissions by 6.0 Mt in 2030. It is also in line with the Trudeau government’s commitment to reduce Canada’s GHG emissions by 30% by 2030, with 2005 as the base year.
In reality, not only does this plan go further than anything submitted so far by any Quebec party in power, but it looks more like a social project to which Quebecers and their businesses are invited to participate in. This environment/economy conciliation can only be done with a strong adherence to its objectives.
We retain 3 elements of this Plan:
- Its basic premise and underlying philosophy are that if we electrify transportation, businesses and buildings, we will inevitably counter the impacts of climate change and reduce our GHG emissions. Beyond this mantra, there is also the desire to use our “blue gold” as the cornerstone of Quebec’s economy.
- In addition to the electrification of the economy, there is also a clear desire to anticipate future demand for clean energy by focusing on green hydrogen and bioenergy. If we look at the financial framework attached to this policy framework (below), this second element appears as a serious willingness to go beyond wishful thinking to anchor Quebec’s economy on an energy mix that is more diversified than it is now.
- The foundation of these orientations and vision is based on land-use planning that is revised to take into account the impacts of climate change. In our opinion, this is the most important and most difficult issue to implement in an orderly and rigorous manner. For it is the backyard of the subsidiary powers of cities and MRCs, where there is often strong resistance to implementing “sustainable” urbanization, which inevitably penalizes local territories financially.
While it is obvious that this Plan is not consistent with the traditional dynamics of sustainable development, it at least has the merit of having a clear financial framework, setting measurable objectives and being able to be updated on a recurring basis.