In June, the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks (MSDEP) made public its third annual report highlighting the province's performance in connection with it's Climate Change Action Plan 2006-2012 (Troisième bilan annuel du Plan d'action 2006-2012 sur les changements climatiques). The Action Plan has a $1.55 billion budget to implement the 26 measures that are recommended to reduce greenhouse gases and to help adapt to climate change impacts.
Highlights of the report include the following:
Three measures to be administered by l'Agence d'efficacité énergétique (AEÉ) have been implemented in the energy sector. The Heavy Oil Consumption Reduction Program offers financial help for companies implementing more energy efficient measures or using alternative energies that produce less greenhouse gases, such as natural gas or forest biomass. Second, the AEE offers support to the manufacturing sector through a program that provides help to improve energy efficiency in enterprises using light oil, propane, or butane as fuel for their industrial process or for heating. Third, the AEÉ promotes the optimisation of refrigeration processes in the recreational and commercial sectors, as well as in the food-processing industry. This program involves the reduction of greenhouse gases by favouring more effective technologies, such as integrated refrigeration systems, heating systems and ventilation or air conditioning systems.
In the transportation sector, the AEÉ has launched the program to promote energy efficiency in transportation of goods. This financial aid favours the acquisition of energy efficiency improving equipment for vehicle fleets such as better heating or air-conditioning systems or on-board computers or systems to improve fleet operations. The government will also contribute to increase investments in marine and rail transportation aimed at technological improvements to increase energy efficiencies of ships and locomotives. In its last budget, the government also provided tax credits to encourage the purchase or the leasing of eco energy vehicles such as hybrid or electric vehicles. The tax credit is a function of the amount of greenhouse gases produced by the automobile. The more a vehicle is environmentally efficient, the greater the tax credit will be.
According to the report, major advances have been made in the industry sector. The province of Quebec has thus embarked last June, together with Ontario, on the provincial and territorial carbon market initiative. The government has opted for a regulatory cap and trade approach on greenhouse gas emissions and, since April 2008, the province of Quebec is now a member of the Western Climate Initiative. Following this decision, the National Assembly, as mentioned in our previous edition of this newsletter, adopted Bill 42 amending the Environment Quality Act to eventually introduce the greenhouse gas emissions cap and trade system.
Residual Materials Management
The report states that the government is also committed to the improvement of the residual materials (waste) sector. Indeed, from 1990 to 2006, there has been a 24% decrease in the emission of greenhouse gases in this sector, mainly as a result of the obligation to recover and eliminate biogas generated in landfill sites. Also, since December 2007, when the government launched the Biogas Program, it is possible to purchase greenhouse gas reductions obtained through the recovery, reclamation or elimination of biogases generated by landfill sites that are not subject to the Regulation respecting the landfilling and incineration of residual materials. Eight such projects selected following the February 2008 request for proposals are scheduled to begin recovering biogases this summer.
Finally, as announced in the March 2009 budget, the government intends to put in place financial incentives to help capital investments towards bio energy production such as biomethanisation aimed at aiding, for example, municipalities to install biomethanisation equipment to produce biogases that can be used alternatives to fossil fuels. This would represent total investments of 500 million dollars according to the report. The Prime-Vert Program also provides for new measures to allow agricultural operations to receive financial help towards the use of technologies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Wildlife has introduced its Action Plan for the reclamation of forest biomass. This plan aims an annual of 1,1 million ton greenhouse gas reduction until 2016./p>
The complete report is available in French at: www.mddep.gouv.qc.ca