Premier Jean Charest and Line Beauchamp, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, outlined the initiatives undertaken by Québec at the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
On December 15, Québec co-chaired the Third Leaders Summit, attended by representatives of more than 60 subnational governments. Organized in association with the Climate Group, the event brought together a group of active decision-makers in the area of greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions for the purpose of sharing best experiences and practices and putting pressure on the international community to adopt a multilateral agreement on climate change.
Governments at the state, provincial and regional levels—with Québec foremost among them—have demonstrated that they are at the vanguard of change aimed at reducing GHG emissions. The Summit also provided an opportunity to launch the EV20 initiative, which seeks to speed development in the electric vehicle sector and includes auto manufacturers, fleet owners and financial institutions.
Conference of the Parties
Québec’s participation in the activities of the 15th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was accompanied by recognition of the government’s environmental commitment. “Québec’s leadership has been acknowledged by one of the emblematic figures in the fight against climate change. The president of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed, who represents one of the countries most threatened by global warming due to rising sea levels, commended the steps taken by Québec and California to fight climate change. He also paid tribute to our leadership at the full meeting of the 194 member states and the thousands of media outlets covering the Conference,” said Mr. Charest.
The Government of Québec’s unswerving commitment to fighting climate change was also recognized in the form of an award presented by Sydney Ribaud, co-founder and general co-ordinator of Équiterre, a Montréal-based environmental organization.
The Premier also took part in various events and met with a number of public figures, including Mike Rann, Premier of South Australia; José Montilla, President of Catalonia; Steve Howard, CEO of the Climate Group; Prince Albert II of Monaco; California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger; Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO; Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and Head of the Energy and Resources Institute; filmmaker/reporter Yann-Arthus Bertrand; and reporter/writer Nicolas Hulot.
The Premier also addressed two panels focusing on renewable energy and the leadership role of subnational governments.
In addition to supporting the Premier, Line Beauchamp, Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks, took part in various activities organized by La Francophonie’s Energy and Environmental Institute (IEPF) and outlined Québec’s initiatives.
Ms. Beauchamp also attended the conference of ministers and heads of francophone delegations, at which she promoted the role of subnational governments in fighting climate change. At the conclusion of the conference, she signed a funding agreement with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) with a view to facilitating the French-language publication of the Earth Negotiations Bulletins.
Ms. Beauchamp was also invited to two events focusing on North/South partnerships in the fight against climate change. The first took place under the auspices of the Leaders Summit; the second was presented by the Climate Registry, a North American organization made up of some 40 US and Mexican states and Canadian provinces. These events provided an opportunity to present Québec’s latest initiatives, particularly its partnership with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Algeria.
In the area of bilateral relations, Ms. Beauchamp met with her counterparts from Scotland, Flanders, Wales and Wallonia. Their discussions centred on their respective initiatives and on the question of recognition of subnational governments in UN documents.
“If we want to stop the phenomenon of climate change, we must enter into multiple alliances and mobilize as many governments and decision-makers as we can to commit to tackling climate change issues. The Government of Québec will continue to take steps by participating fully in the Western Climate Initiative with a view to pursuing the creation of a carbon market, by using the Leaders Summit to mobilize subnational governments and by sharing its expertise within the EV20 in order to develop electric vehicles,” said Mr. Charest.