Québec, May 7, 2015 – Back from a mission to the Western United States and Mexico, the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, David Heurtel, proudly observed great interest in Québec’s climate change initiatives– especially the carbon market, which was set up with California as part of the Western Climate Initiative (WCI).
“The mission was highly successful, since it enabled us to demonstrate the environmental and economic advantages of the carbon market for decision-makers and strengthen dialogue with North American sub-national governments that, just like Québec, are actively engaged in fighting climate change,” Minister Heurtel stated. The Minister was pleased with his discussions with governors and legislators in the United States and Mexico, as well as with government’s representatives, business community leaders and environmental groups that are acknowledged for their efforts in this field of endeavour. The Minister also had opportunities to showcase Québec’s environmental initiatives to the following representatives of Canada in both countries: James Villeneuve, Consul General of Canada, Los Angeles; Jim Baumgartner, Honorary Consul of Canada in Oregon; James Hill, Consul General of Canada in Seattle; and Pierre Alarie, Ambassador-Designate to the United Mexican States.
In addition to his participation in a Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition in Los Angeles, which was organized by the World Bank and the International Emissions Trading Association, Minister Heurtel was also invited to address the plenary session of the “Navigating the American Carbon World” major annual North American conference on carbon pricing, which highlighted sub-national government leadership in the fight against climate change.
Accompanied by his Ontario counterpart, the Honorable Glen R. Murray, Minister Heurtel met with several of Québec’s partners during his time in California, including the State’s Secretary for Environmental Protection, Mr. Matt Rodriquez, and its Air Resources Board Chairman, Ms. Mary Nichols, in order to strengthen collaboration in the fight against climate change. The meeting dealt with the forthcoming opening of a carbon market in Ontario that was recently announced by the Premier of that province. Ministers Heurtel and Murray also took part in an important working session with representatives of the governments of Mexico, California, Washington and Oregon and had occasion to exchange views on the importance of developing clean technologies to fight climate change with the former Governor of Colorado and current Director of the Center for the New Energy Economy, Mr. Bill Ritter.
Minister Heurtel then flew to Oregon, where he showcased Québec’s carbon market in a meeting with representatives of the House Committee on Energy and Environment, chaired by Ms. Jessica Vega Pederson and on which sits Representative Deborah Boone. Thistrip provided the Minister with an opportunity to meet the new Governor of Oregon, Ms. Kate Brown, who signed a draft bill on low-emission fuels last March.
In Seattle, Minister Heurtel addressed a group of more than 50 representatives of the business community and environmental groups at a lunch co-hosted by the World Affairs Council in collaboration with the Climate Solutions. He also met with the Governor of Washington, Mr. Jay Inslee, who is a leading figure in the fight against climate change in the U.S.A. Governor Inslee introduced an ambitious draft bill in December 2014 that looks to create a carbon market and implement other policies to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. During his mission, Minister Heurtel and the governors with whom he met reiterated their will to strengthen the role played by sub-national governments in the fight against climate change in the run-up to the December, 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris.
Following his stay on the American West Coast, Minister Heurtel travelled to Mexico to discuss the challenges posed by climate change in that country, as well as to strengthen Québec’s ties to the Mexican Government in this area and start a dialogue aimed at increasing opportunities for future collaboration.
In addition to highlighting the efficiency of the carbon market as a sustainable development tool in front of some 60 representatives of the governments of Mexico and other countries at the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico (SEMARNAT), Minister Heurtel shared views on matters of common interest with the Secretariat’s Under-Secretary of Planning and Environmental Policy, Mr. Rodolfo Lacy, and stated: “Thanks to the Green Fund, whose income is mainly generated from the carbon market, the Government of Québec can support Québec businesses, municipalities and private citizens in transitioning to a low-carbon world. Estimated at 3.3 billion dollars by 2020, these funds, which are allocated to the 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan, are a powerful motor force for re-launching the economy and creating jobs.”
The Minister also discussed the benefits of the carbon market with Ms. Tanya Müller Garcia, who is Secretary of the Environment for Mexico City, an urban area whose population numbers nearly 23 million people. Mr. Heurtel took advantage of the meeting to discuss action that needs to be taken in North America to fight climate change efficiently. Fighting climate change and adapting to its consequences have had an important place in Mexico’s policies since 2009, leading that country to become a reknown actor in this area on the world stage.
In the course of his five-city, April 27-May 4 mission, Minister Heurtel took every opportunity to underline the vital role of sub-national and regional governments in the worldwide effort to fight climate change. “In addition to recognizing the importance of carbon pricing, the climate agreement to be adopted in Paris this coming December needs to strengthen the ability of sub-national governments like Québec to act to protect the climate. We have everything to gain by sharing our best practices and working together to seek solutions, particularly with other North American jurisdictions because, as we know, climate conditions know no borders. It is by combining our efforts both here and across the planet that we will be able to fight climate change efficiency and ensure a better quality of life for our children,” the Minister concluded.
Cabinet of the Minister of Sustainable Development,
Environment and the Fight against Climate Change
Ministère du Développement durable,
de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre
les changements climatiques