In a week marked by Premier François Legault’s imminent environmental talk at the United Nations in New York, leading environmental collectives are urging for an escalated effort by Quebec in the monumental battle against climate change.
Patrick Bonin, a foremost campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, shared his astonishment at the Quebec leader’s forthcoming speech at the Climate Ambition Summit, citing that Quebec’s current performance does not position it as an exemplar of climate action. “Notable escalation of emissions in the transportation and industry sectors underscores this point,” he mentioned with gravity.
The invitation to Premier Legault, extended by Secretary General Antonio Guterres, provides an opportunity for the Quebec premier to engage with the UN General Assembly and contribute his insights at Wednesday’s inaugural Summit on Climate Ambition.
Echoing Bonin’s sentiment, Patrick called for a departure from theatrics and grand displays. He asserted, “A time such as this requires fresh, ambitious proposals that rise up to the challenge at hand. That is what we hope to see from Mr. Legault.”
As it stands, the province of Quebec has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5% by 2030. Yet, Leïla Cantave, a representative of Climate Action Network Canada, argues the necessity for Quebec to renew its dedication and increase this target. She speaks from New York, addressing political leaders, restating Climate Action Network’s ambition for Quebec to strive for a reduction target of 65%.
A closer glance at Quebec’s emissions reveals a lack of drastic and rapid reduction. This is emphasized by the sentiment shared by Bonin, who notes the province falls short of its 2030 objectives. With plans in place to aim for carbon neutrality by 2050, it seems Quebec has an uphill climb in its future.
However, the province is not without its achievements in climate action. Bonin points towards landmarks such as an increase in electric vehicle charging infrastructure and the cease in oil and gas exploration and production. He goes on to underscore the denial of the Quebec LNG project and the aborted linkage between Quebec City and Lévis. However, he concludes, “We’ve made some marks but the road to real impact is still long.”
Premier Legault, accompanied by Environment Minister Benoit Charette, plans to present a blueprint of Quebec’s major pivots in the fight against climate change. They will also partake in a round-table dialogue alongside the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, of which Quebec is a member.
Moreover, Legault’s attendance at the United Nations marks a preliminary stride towards the 28th UN Conference of the Parties on Climate Change (COP 28), scheduled to commence on Nov. 30 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
The Climate Ambition Summit is a platform to appreciate and learn from those leading the charge in taking credible, concrete action to adhere to the Paris Agreement’s aim of a 1.5 degree Celsius target and provide climate justice for the communities most devastated by climate emergencies, as highlighted by a UN document.