Quebec on track to miss its climate targets for 2030

The Quebec on track to miss its 2030 climate targets

Quebec is on track to miss its climate targets, according to the report State of Energy in Quebec 2022, published Thursday by the holders of the HEC Montréal Energy Sector Management Chair, Johanne Whitmore and Pierre-Olivier Pineau.

Pierre-Olivier Pineau explains that Quebec is on its way to missing the GHG emission reduction targets it has set for 2030. And this, despite a “Green Plan” of 6, 7 billion dollars over five years.

Already, for the year 2020, it’s missed.

“Few changes are made in our structures and consumption habits, reaching these targets will be extremely difficult”, mentions Mr. Pineau in the report. To reverse this trend, new measures will have to emerge. “Without additional measures to those identified in the Plan for a Green Economy 2030, Quebec will not achieve its climate objectives, just as it has not achieved its 2020 GHG reduction target.”

Few actions taken

Pierre-Olivier Pineau points out that GHG emissions have only increased since 2014. The transportation market and the appeal of SUVs may explain this continuous increase, he indicates. Indeed, the proportion of light trucks on Quebec roads has increased considerably. They represent 71% of vehicles sold in 2020, compared to only 44% in 2010. The transportation sector alone is responsible for almost 50% of GHG emissions in Quebec.

Équiterre is precisely campaigning for legislation to prevent the advertising of such vehicles. The environmental organization explained, several months ago, that SUVs are a threat to the achievement of climate targets in addition to causing safety issues.

“The softness of our actions to rethink the transport sector is clearly to be pointed out for this embarrassing and worrying balance sheet: we are putting more and more vehicles on our roads and they are bigger and bigger”, commented the mobility analyst at Équiterre Andréanne Brazeau.

For his part, the head of the climate-energy campaign at Greenpeace Canada, Patrick Bonin, believes that much of the blame lies with the government of François Legault.< /p>

“After three years in power, there is no justification why the government is still presenting us with a half-plan to fight climate change. It is certain that with the political will and a frank discussion with the population on the extent of the challenges and the personal and collective efforts that we must make, it is possible.”

Patrick Bonin, campaign manager climate-energy at Greenpeace Canada

Insufficient alternatives

The report highlights the fact that in terms of energy, sectors such as biodiesel, renewable natural gas (RNG) or hydrogen are developing unevenly. The biodiesel sector in particular is in sharp decline. Biodiesel production capacity in Quebec has fallen from 90 to 6 million liters per day in 2021. The reason: the closure of the Rothsay Biodiesel plant and the suspension of production at Bioénergie AE Côte-Nord.

In 2021, hydrogen represented less than 1% of Quebec's energy balance and RNG represented only 0.1% of volumes in the gas network, while the target is 2% by 2023, specifies the report. /p>

At the same time, the number of electric vehicles and charging stations is constantly increasing in Quebec.

Quebec-on-course-to-miss its climate targets for 2030

However, electricity surpluses from hydroelectricity could dwindle in the coming years and even disappear around the year 2029. New export contracts, demand growth and the electrification of the economy , among other things, will eliminate these surpluses.

“Our hydroelectricity is a precious strategic resource that will have to be managed with intelligence and sobriety if we want to operate it for the major projects that await us”, underlines the climate policy analyst at Équiterre, Émile Boisseau-Bouvier.

The pandemic as an inhibitor

The pandemic had a dampening effect on oil consumption in Quebec (-11%). But the recovery in activity has pushed up consumption levels, according to Mr. Pineau. If the economic recovery and sales of gas-guzzling vehicles continue, consumption will return to 2019 levels, he predicts. This is already the case for Canada as a whole, underlines the author of the report.

If no figures for Quebec are yet available for 2021, Statistics Canada's 2021 Canadian monthly data shows that sales of petroleum products rebounded in 2021 and almost returned to their pre-pandemic level.

The report State of energy in Quebec 2022

For 2022, the authors of the report hope that the themes of energy transition and climate change will be addressed during the next election campaign in Quebec.

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