(New York) Under the delighted gaze of François Legault, Al Gore ranked the Prime Minister of Quebec among the “heroes” of the fight against global warming on Tuesday in New York.
Carried away by his well-known passion for this fight of which he is one of the pioneers, the former American vice-president pronounced the word of praise at the start of a meeting of the Beyond Oil and Gas (BOGA) coalition held in the offices of the General Delegation of Quebec in New York.
The narrator ofAn inconvenient truth evoked in a prophetic tone and with the accents of a pastor from Tennessee the consequences of achieving carbon neutrality.
“If we maintain net zero emissions, within the next 25 or 30 years, half of the greenhouse gases produced by humans will be gone from the atmosphere,” he told meeting participants. “The long, slow healing process can begin, and future generations will remember this Beyond Gas and Oil alliance and say, ‘They helped make the goal happen. They were heroes. Their eyes were wide open, their hearts were wide open, their conscience was engaged. And they took the necessary measures.” »
Quebec joined BOGA, an initiative of Denmark and Costa Rica, in November 2021. In April 2022, it became the first state in North America to renounce hydrocarbons, a precedent that François Legault was pleased to recall after the praise of Al Gore. And on Tuesday he played host to a round table in which around fifteen representatives of governments or groups associated with BOGA participated.
Obviously, Quebec enjoys a good reputation abroad in terms of the fight against global warming, even if its efforts are considered insufficient by Quebec ecological groups.
“We need heroes to push the energy transition in the world,” commented Leïla Cantave, responsible for Quebec for the Climate Action Network Canada, which is participating in New York Climate Week. “It’s a process that requires collaboration. Now, does Quebec play this role? Not yet. »
Quebec must at least do its fair share and increase its GHG emissions reduction target by 2030 to 65%. We also need Quebec to do more diplomatic work and encourage other Canadian provinces to join BOGA.
Leïla Cantave, responsible for Quebec for the Canada Climate Action Network
In the presence of Al Gore and other participants in the BOGA round table, including representatives from Brazil, South Africa, the United Kingdom and British Columbia, François Legault extended the pole to the other provinces Canadians, inviting them to join BOGA.
But, when talking about GHG emissions, he simply said that Quebec had the lowest rate of greenhouse gas emissions per capita in North America.
After the BOGA round table, François Legault spoke privately with one of his participants, the Democratic governor of Washington State, Jay Inslee, who was given credit by Al Gore for having inspired Joe Biden his important energy transition initiatives.
“We are truly a leader”
François Legault will receive another flower this Wednesday in New York. He will participate in the first Summit on Climate Ambition, organized by the Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres. The Quebec Prime Minister’s entourage considers this invitation a great honor, even if the Prime Minister will not have the opportunity to speak during the activity.
What does he say to those who criticize him and are not convinced that he deserved this honor?
“I’m happy,” he said during a press scrum Tuesday morning in Astoria, Queens. “I think there are only nine countries [ou États fédérés] who were invited. » After repeating the data on Quebec GHG emissions per capita, he added: “We have the most ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. So I think we’re really a leader in North America. »
In response to a question from a journalist, François Legault clarified that nuclear energy was not part “for the moment” of his plan to meet Quebec’s future energy needs.
“We have not yet looked for all the available electricity that we could find,” he said after discussing the negotiations with Newfoundland and Labrador regarding Churchill Falls, the construction of a new dam at Gull Island and energy efficiency, among others.
Quebec-New York Agreement
François Legault went to Astoria to participate, in the presence of several key stakeholders, including the Governor of New York State, Kathy Hochul, in the inauguration of the construction of the Champlain transmission line converter station Hudson Power Express.
The result of an agreement signed in November 2021 between Hydro-Québec and its New York partner, the line will allow Quebec to export 10.4 terawatt hours to the American metropolis for 25 years, enough to provide the equivalent of 20% of New York City’s electricity needs and contribute 28% to New York City’s GHG reduction goal by 2030.
François Legault estimates the impact of this bidirectional line at $30 billion, which will also allow Quebec to import at low prices any surplus electricity produced by New York wind turbines.
“This is one of my greatest achievements,” said the Prime Minister, referring to this project, the first year of operation of which is planned for 2026.
Chief Picard denounces Quebec’s behavior at the UN
The chief of the Assembly of First Nations Quebec-Labrador (APNQL) took advantage of the Prime Minister’s visit to the UN to report to the Secretary General of the United Nations that the Legault government was performing poorly in terms of relations with the First Nations . In a letter addressed to António Guterres, leader Ghislain Picard emphasizes that Quebec, despite a motion adopted to this effect in 2019, “systematically refuses to implement [la Déclaration des Nations unies sur les droits des peuples autochtones] » under the pretext that it “amounts to a right of veto” for the First Nations. Chief Picard also notes Quebec’s “systematic objection” to federal bills which “recognize that relations with indigenous peoples must be based on the recognition and implementation of the inherent right to self-determination.” Quebec is notably contesting the constitutionality of Bill C-92, which gives full autonomy to First Nations in matters of youth protection services. The AFNQL sees this as “twisted interference” by Quebec in its areas of jurisdiction.
Fanny Lévesque, The Press