Glasgow, November 13, 2021 - After having followed the international climate negotiations at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26), Équiterre draws up an assessment that is tinged with frustration, but is also hopeful that civil society will keep on mobilizing to put pressure on the Quebec and Canada governments in order for them to do their fair share to fight the climate crisis.
"The primary objective of COP26 was to ensure that an agreement was reached to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5°C. Given that this objective was not achieved, this COP, without saying that it was a failure on all fronts, it can certainly not be called a success," says Émile Boisseau-Bouvier, climate policy analyst at Équiterre.
"Even after yet another climate summit, Canada and Quebec still have GHG emission reduction targets and action plans that do not meet the basic standards of climate science. While there has been progress on some issues, the ambition does not address the crisis," he adds.
"The fossil fuel industry's imprint on the final text of this COP is still being felt, which is absolutely inconceivable. As long as its voice remains powerful – with more than 500 representatives in Glasgow – and as long as it is supported by certain States, the outcome of the international climate negotiations will not be able to match the important transformation that our societies must carry out without delay," adds Andréanne Brazeau, policy analyst at Équiterre.
Despite slow progress towards greater climate justice, Équiterre hopes that citizen mobilization – led by those most affected, namely indigenous peoples, countries of the South and younger generations – will have regained its momentum after nearly two years of health crisis, which seemed to be the case in Glasgow.
The Canadian government still has a lot to prove
"Many eyes were on Steven Guilbeault during this COP and the exercise highlighted the magnitude of the challenge that awaits him in his new position: to make the necessary and urgent transition away from fossil fuels. The federal government still has a lot of work to do; not all of it could be done in two weeks, and we are eager to see its action plans," explains Émile Boisseau-Bouvier.
In the coming year, Équiterre is therefore demanding that the federal government take decisive action in the country's two largest emitting sectors:
- An action plan and timeline to cap emissions from the fossil fuel sector;
- A zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) standard and ambitious interim targets to accelerate the decarbonization of transportation.
However, Équiterre applauds Canada's announcement to end international fossil fuel subsidies by 2023, and now urges the government to keep its election promise and to quickly end subsidies in Canada.
A missed opportunity for Quebec
Équiterre deplores the stubbornness and lack of ambition of the Quebec government on the climate issue, which left Glasgow with the same target as when it arrived: a 37,5% reduction in GHG emissions by 2030 compared to 1990. This target does not respect climate science and the concept of fair share, namely a 65% reduction of domestic emissions. In order to respect the requirements of the Paris Agreement, to which Quebec is bound by decree, the government was expected to revise its target.
However, Équiterre would like to welcome Quebec's entry into the newly formed Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance as a core member, committing to end oil and gas exploration and production on its territory.
"François Legault's government came back from Glasgow touting almost exclusively its economic agreements. One wonders why it ignored its most hopeful announcement, that of having joined the alliance committed to ending oil and gas exploration and production," says Andréanne Brazeau, noting that this important step will have to be taken without compensating the companies that have directly contributed to the climate crisis.
"With the 2022 provincial elections approaching, we hope that Mr. Legault will hear the demands of Quebec's youth and present a target that respects their future and science in addition to developing a real plan to fight the climate crisis that goes beyond the electrification of transportation or the export of hydroelectricity, a plan that could be a real source of pride," concluded the analyst.
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Anthony Côté Leduc, Media Relations