Monday, November 23, 2009

Quebec has a Plan A and Plan B for Copenhagen

Quebec Environment Minister Line Beauchamp said Friday that Quebec will likely be bringing a Plan B to Copenhagen that will involve the conference recognizing the role of state and provincial governments in the climate change debate, according to a report in the Montreal Gazette Saturday.

Quebec is one of four Canadian provinces, with Ontario, B.C. and Manitoba, representing 80% of the population, and seven U.S. states including California, that have joined the Western Climate Initiative, a group that supports a cap and trade program and is pushing for more ambitious position on greenhouse gas reduction targets. Currently Canada has indicated a target of a 3% emissions reduction on 1990 levels would be acceptable to adopt. Meanwhile, Beauchamp has indicated that Quebec may be setting its sights on a reduction target in the range of 25% or higher.

The lame Canadian target is accentuated by Quebec's strong position. If one considers the second largest province in Canada is targeting a 25% reduction - yet Canada's overall reduction is only 3%, we see that some parts of Canada are, in fact, planning rampant emission increases.

The entire world is basing the Copenhagen talks on 1990 emission levels and Canada's Conservative government is continuing to talk about using 2006 as a baseline.

On December 15 in Copenhagen, Quebec Premier Jean Charest and South Australia Premier Mike Rann will co-chair a leaders summit on climate change. Attendees at this meeting will include California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and French presidential runner up Segolene Royal.

The separatist Parti Quebecois is trying to make hay over Copenhagen, with PQ international relations critic Lise Beaudoin asking Beauchamp how Quebec can go into Copenhagen as a part of the Canadian delegation in good conscience, when Canadian Environment Minister, Jim Prentice, wants the talks to fail.

At this point, Beauchamp indicated that Quebec will likely bring the most ambitious emission target of any any jurisdiction in North America to Copenhagen.

In an interview with Europolitics, we see that the Euros are getting sensitive about the Alberta Tar Sands, as the reporter specifically asked Beauchamp about it:

"What is your position on Canada’s use of oil sands?"

Beauchamp's reply was diplomatic:

"No matter what type of industry we are talking about, if it is a strong GHG emitter, then under a ‘cap and trade’ it will have either to invest in reducing emissions or to buy trading allowances. There can be an oil sands industry, but this industry should not in any way hinder Canada from being ambitious in its fight against climate change. Rules should also be imposed on this industry so that it makes its contribution in terms of reducing GHG emissions."

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