Québec’s initiatives to combat climate change were at the core of a mission to Washington, DC, carried out from May 20 to 23 by Yves-François Blanchet, Minister of Sustainable Development, the Environment, Wildlife and Parks. Minister Blanchet was able to meet with U.S. policymakers including Nancy Sutley, Chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Ernest Moniz, the new Secretary of Energy. This was the first time that a Québec environment minister was received at the White House, an opportunity which allowed the minister to highlight Québec's amibitious policies to combat climate change to high level American executive officials.
Québec and California carbon markets
Minister Blanchet spoke at the prestigious Climate Leadership Gala, an annual event sponsored by the Earth Day Network, bringing together environmental leaders from politics, industry and the NGO community. The minister also gave a speech on Québec's participation in the Western Climate Initiative to a packed room of over 100 policymakers at Resources for the Future, with another 200 watching online. In both of the minister's public remarks, he highlighted Québec's efforts and bold goals in the following areas:
•reducing greenhouse gas emissions
•adapting Québec society to the consequences of climate change
•reducing Québec’s dependence on fossil fuels
Yves-François Blanchet also underlined the environmental and economic benefits of an agreement that will link the Québec and California carbon markets. He said that he was confident that the agreement will be extended to carbon markets in other states that have signed on to the Western Climate Initiative.
He then visited one of the sites of the Virginia Tech Advanced Research Institute, a research center specializing in smart energy distribution grids and the Washington showcase of electric vehicle builder Tesla Motors.