Premier François Legault is set to outline his government’s long-awaited plan to tackle climate change this morning, after one of the key targets was revealed over the weekend: a ban on the sale of new gas-powered vehicles, starting in 2035.
Legault’s government is devoting $6.7 billion over the next five years to deal with climate change. The bulk of that money will go to promoting the purchase of electric vehicles.
But climate change experts and environmental activists say that won’t be enough to put the province on track to meeting its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 29 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030.
The ban, according to La Presse, will not extend to commercial vehicles, nor the sale of second-hand cars.
Pierre-Olivier Pineau, one of Quebec’s most prominent energy policy experts, said eyeing 2035 for a ban on gas-powered vehicles has all the ambition of “banning rotary phones” today.
Electric-vehicle technology is already developing at a rate that will make it dominant by 2035. Making a big deal out of the ban, said Pineau, makes the announcement look more innovative than it actually is.
Between 2007 and 2014, Quebec cut its emissions output by about 10 million tonnes. But between 2014 and 2017 (the latest figures available), emissions actually increased slightly.
That increase has coincided with record-level gas consumption as Quebecers buy more and more sport utility vehicles.
As it stands, more than 40 per cent of Quebec’s greenhouse gas emissions come from the transport sector, especially fossil fuel-burning cars and trucks.
Patrick Bonin, a climate and energy campaigner at Greenpeace Canada, said the province needs to put more money in public transit to keep cars off the road.
“We will need much more metros, tramway bus lanes possibly an extension of the REM to make sure that public transit is more competitive,” he said.
He would like the CAQ to put an emphasis on protecting and restoring green spaces to act as a buffer during flooding.
Legault will announce the plan at 11 a.m. alongside Environment Minister Benoit Charette.