Trudeau and Legault unveil new net-zero emissions strategies

This Monday, Quebec Premier François Legault released a multi-billion dollar climate change mitigation plan that will seek to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, in order to make Quebec completely carbon-neutral by 2050. This move comes after criticism against the CAQ government for having "failed to meet its target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2020."

This ambitious new strategy, which will begin implementation between 2021 and 2026, not only seeks to put 1.5 million electric cars on the road in ten years, but will conclude with a ban on new gas-powered cars starting in 2035. Given that 99.8% of Quebec's electricity is obtained from renewable sources (predominantly water, through Hydro-Quebec), such a switch from gasoline to electric-powered cars evidently would be a massive boon for Canada in reaching her international clean energy goals.

“I couldn’t look my two sons in the eyes if I didn’t make an effort to meet this huge challenge that we all have across the planet,” Legault was reported as saying at a conference in Montreal.

Three days later, the Prime Minister responded with his own net-zero emissions plan.

The bill, likely to pass with the support of the NDP, would "require the federal government to set five-year interim emissions reduction targets over the next 30 years to ensure progress" on Canada's goal to obtain net-zero emissions by 2050.

The plan focuses on growing Canada's source of carbon sinks that store carbon from the atmosphere. For example, growing trees - the Liberals have accordingly promised to plant two billion.

CBC notes that current environmental strategies, such as the carbon tax and the ban on coal plants and regulating methane emissions in the oil and gas industry, only get "Canada about two-thirds of the way" towards her 2050 goal. This new move comes as a result to bridge that gap.

On the topic, the Prime Minister was quoted as saying: "Stephen Harper's inability to fight climate change responsibility was a big part of him losing power in 2015. Conservatives continue to fight against measures that combat climate change. The consequences for a government that doesn't lead on climate change [...] will be far greater than anything you can write into a legislation."

Green Party leader Annamie Paul criticized the bill, saying it lacks accountability mechanisms and clear targets that would allow "for future governments to duck accountability."

"After five years in power, and a record of unfulfilled emissions reductions commitments, the government has given us more smoke and mirrors," she stated. "There is only talk of accountability about a plan that will be developed at some future date. That's not what we expected, that is not what we need."

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