Climate change is a global worldwide that requires collective and concerted action. It is by working together that government,
industry, the citizenry, and all stakeholders will succeed in limiting global warming to less than 1,5 °C
above pre-industrial levels. The Government of Québec has chosen the path of mobilization and is committed to contributing
to the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change.
Québec is a leader internationally and has been putting its expertise and best practices forward for over a
decade within organizations, partnerships, and alliances that promote innovative and ambitious ideas and action accelerate the transition to a low carbon world economy.
This international presence has fostered the emergence of a “climate diplomacy” based on an essential principle recognized
in the Paris Agreement, which was signed in December 2015 and entered into force one year later: Subnational governments are
key players in the fight against climate change.
In this context, Québec chooses to be involved in international organizations and work closely with them to:
- Share its experience, benefit from best practices at the international level, and work with subnational governments to fight climate change:
- From 2015 to 2018, Québec was North American co-chair of the Under2 Coalition, international network of subnational governments that works to implement policies to reach carbon neutrality (net-zero emissions) by 2050. Québec continues to sit on the Coalition’s steering committee and participates in a number of working groups, including Net Zero Futures, which encourages subnational governments to aim for this, and the Climate Ambition Tracker, which allows them to showcase their achievements in this area. Québec is also a signatory of the Global Climate Leadership Memorandum of Understanding
(Under2 MOU) that gave rise to the Coalition, which signposts the coalition’s actions and is administered by the international Climate Group
with which Québec has cooperated since 2007. Through Québec’s relationship with the Under 2 Coalition it signed on to the United Nations Race to Zero campaign that unites state and non-state actors in the pursuit of net-zero emissions;
- In 2014, Québec also joined the States and Regions Alliance, an initiative of the Carbon Disclosure Project that provides an overview of federal and subnational government climate change efforts around the world. In 2014, Québec also joined the Compact of States and Regions. This joint initiative by the Climate Group and the Carbon Disclosure Project provides a global profile of the efforts deployed by state and regional governments worldwide in this area;
- Québec is equally a member of the
Regions4 (formerly the
Network of Regional Governments for Sustainable Development (nrg4SD) steering committee. Regions4 is an international organization with nearly 50 subnational and regional government members. Regions4 promotes the sharing of best practices in the fields of biodiversity, sustainable development, and climate change adaptation, seeking to ensure that the commitments of subnational governments in these areas are recognized throughout the world. Regions4 is the initiative coordinator.
The RegionsAdapt initiative supports and lists regional climate change adaptation efforts. Québec signed on when the initiative was created in 2015 and through its affiliation was able to participate in the United Nations Race to Resilience campaign that aims at being a catalyst of subnational action to grow the resilience of the communities that are most vulnerable to climate risk.
- Québec is a member of the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers (NEG-ECP). This regional forum for multisectoral cooperation and coordination is composed of five Canadian provinces and six U.S. states. Québec collaborates with its neighbours in implementing the 2017 Regional Climate Change Action Plan, which aims to reduce GHG emissions by 35 to 45% below 1990 levels by 2030;
- In 2016, Québec joined the International Alliance to Combat Ocean Acidification, seeking to increase knowledge about this phenomenon’s impact within its territory and help coastal communities adapt;
- Showcase its commitment to carbon pricing and share its market mechanisms expertise:
- Quebec signed the World Bank's Declaration on Carbon Pricing in 2014 to support this goal.
- Quebec also joined the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC) in 2015 in the wake of the above declaration. The CPLC aims to bring together government, business and civil society leaders to develop effective carbon pricing policies and mechanisms for combatting climate change.
- In November 2021, Québec signed the Glasgow Declaration on Carbon Pricing in the Americas alongside a dozen national and subnational governments from both hemispheres that have committed to apply carbon pricing or continue its implementation as the cornerstone of an ambitious economic and environmental policy for fighting climate change. The declaration replaces the 2017 Paris Declaration on Carbon Pricing in the Americas. These declarations were implemented by means of a cooperative platform for sharing best practices among signatories on carbon pricing mechanisms in the Americas. Québec has co-chaired the platform since October 2020.
With specific reference to carbon market mechanisms:
- Québec is one of the founding members of the
International Carbon Action Partnership (ICAP, 2008). Co-chair of this body from 2014 to 2018, it continues its involvement currently within the partnership’s steering committee. ICAP brings together national and subnational governments that have either set up a cap-and-trade system for emission allowances (C&T system) or are in the process of doing so. It facilitates technical sharing of best practices on designing, developing, implementing and linking C&T systems.
- At the request of the World Bank, Québec also became a technical partner of the
Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR) in 2014, which then became the Partnership for Market Implementation (PMU) in 2021. Québec works with 30 countries to assess, prepare, and implement carbon pricing instruments to reduce GHG emissions by sharing its knowledge and best practices in this area.
- At the request of the UNFCCC Secretariat, in November 2017 Québec also joined the
Collaborative Instruments for Ambitious Climate Action (CI-ACA) initiative, whose aim is to support developing countries that are exploring the possibility of introducing carbon pricing instruments into their economies. Québec is currently the only subnational government member of this initiative.
- Québec also works with the non-profit
International Emissions Trading Association (IETA) which is dedicated to establishing an international framework for facilitating the emergence of carbon markets around the world. Although Québec cannot be a full-fledged member of this association (since membership is reserved to the private sector) it works closely with the IETA to organize UNFCCC side-events and participates in international forums dealing with carbon market mechanisms.
By actively participating in these initiatives, Québec also seeks to ensure the sustainability of its own carbon market and directly helps to establish best practices rules on C&T.
- Affirm its commitment to renewable energy and the green economy:
- In November 2017, Québec signed the Power Past Coal Alliance Declaration, The alliance brings together a wide range of companies, organizations, and governments united in their desire to take action to accelerate clean growth and climate protection by eliminating the use of coal in electric power plants and industrial production. All of the alliance’s partners have pledged to promote clean energy sources through their policies and investments, and to restrict funding for coal-fired power plants that are not equipped with CO2 capture and storage devices
- During the November 2021 Glasgow Climate Summit (COP26), Québec became a founding core member of the new, Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA), whose aim is to encourage best practices for the progressive reduction of fossil energy production throughout the world
- Showcase its transportation electrification advantages and share best practices in this field:
- In 2015, Québec was among the founding members of the International Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance
(ZEV Alliance), which aims to foster the adoption of policies and initiatives that accelerate the utilization of zero-emission vehicles, worldwide. The ZEV Alliance currently comprises 18 governments, including those of Norway, Germany, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and a number of U.S. states such as California.
- As well, as a governmental adviser, Québec participates in the deliberations of the ZEV Community, which is an international initiative that brings together the Under2 Coalition, ZEV Alliance, C40 Cities and U.S. Climate Alliance. ZEV Community seeks to foster ZEV cooperation among these international forums uniting all levels of governance.
- In 2019, Québec joined CALSTART’s Drive to Zero program, whose aim is to accelerate the use of heavy-duty electric vehicles. Moreover, Québec supported the Global MOU on Zero-Emission Medium- and Heavy-Duty Vehicles, an initiative of CALSTART and the Government of the Netherlands at COP26, whereby signatory nations committed to reaching 100% of heavy-duty sales by 2040 as zero-emission vehicles.
- In September 2021, Québec also joined the Multi-States ZEV Task Force on zero-emission heavy duty vehicles initiative, whose members include 18 American State governments and Québec. The goal of the initiative is to develop a common action plan for facilitating the members’ transition to zero-emission medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. The
action plan was launched on July 27, 2022. It specified 65 recommendations that members of the ZEV Task Force can implement to accelerate the decarbonisation of their heavy-duty transport sector.
- Answer the Paris Agreement’s call for international climate cooperation; set an example; and assume a leadership role among subnational governments:
- At the December 2015, Paris Climate Conference, Québec announced the adoption of three climate cooperation measures in support of action to combat climate change in Francophone countries that are the most vulnerable and exposed to the impacts of climate change.
- Consequently, Québec created the International Climate Cooperation Program
(ICCP) (French) to support cooperative projects by means of technology transfers and capacity building between Québec actors in the fields of academia, research, and international cooperation and the private sector, and Francophone countries. To date, the ICCP has issued three calls for projects that will make it possible to carry out 37 projects in twelve developing Francophone countries. The program’s budget was increased to $30.1M in the 2019-2020 Budget Plan. The Québec government’s international mobilization efforts to foster climate solidarity were among the objectives contained in its 2013-2020 Climate Change Action Plan (2013-2020 CCAP), which concluded on March 31, 2021 and was followed by the 2030 Plan for a Green Economy and its implementation roadmap, which specifies the renewal of the ICCP.
- Since 2017, Québec has contributed a total of $19 million to the United Nations Adaptation Fund and the Least Developed Countries Fund. It also supports the Under2 Coalition’s
and develops international scientific cooperation through Ouranos;
- Additionally, Québec created the Youth Initiative
to raise awareness among young people and strengthen their entrepreneurial and green economy skills. This initiative was implemented in cooperation with the
Offices jeunesse internationaux du Québec (LOJIQ) (French) and the
Institut de la Francophonie pour le développement durable (IFDD).
- Foster the sustainable and resilient development of Northern Québec:
- As a northern and Arctic state, Québec also participates in discussions and contributes to global efforts underway to preserve the North, which is particularly affected by global warming, and to foster its adaptation to the changes taking place. Owing to the innovative sustainable development approach being implemented through the
Plan Nord, the Québec government earned a seat on the Advisory Board of the Arctic Circle—the largest international dialogue and cooperation network for the sustainable development of the Arctic.
- Encourage the development of related strategic partnerships:
- New Zealand: In November 2021, Québec, California and New Zealand signed, in Glasgow, a
Joint Declaration on Climate Change Cooperation in which they commit to strengthen their partnership involving carbon markets, explore opportunities to harmonize their respective systems and expand their cooperation in other areas such as sustainable mobility, forestry and agriculture.
- Chile: In December 2019, the Minister of the Environment and the Fight against Climate Change, Benoit Charette, and the Republic of Chile’s Minister of Energy, Juan Carlos Jobet, signed a
joint declaration (French) formalizing the desire of both governments to strengthen their cooperation on carbon markets, energy transition, and other measures to fight climate change.
- Nova Scotia: Since September 2018, Québec has shared information and its expertise with Nova
Scotia in conjunction with Nova Scotia’s establishment of a carbon market and that province’s participation in the activities
of the Western Climate Initiative, Inc.
- Oregon: In May 2018, the Premier of Québec signed a Memorandum of Understanding to strengthen cooperation
with Oregon in the fight against climate change and share Québec’s carbon market expertise.
- France: During the 20th Alternating Meeting of the Premier of Québec and the Prime Minister of France,
held in March 2018, the leaders agreed on a
roadmap (French) for the fight
against climate change, as well as on energy and sustainable development, and issued a mandate to their respective ministers in charge of its implementation.
- Ontario: Québec has signed several agreements with Ontario on the fight against climate change, including:
- An environmental cooperation
agreement in October 2016;
- An agreement on the harmonization and integration of the Québec, California, and Ontario carbon markets in September
The Québec, California, and Ontario markets were briefly linked in the first half of 2018, after which Ontario ended
its program and withdrew from the linked market.
- Mexico: In October 2015, Québec and the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources of Mexico
signed an agreement (French)
to strengthen cooperation regarding the environment and the fight against climate change.
- Canadian provinces and territories: The
Summit on Climate Change was held on April 14,
2015. The Premiers of all provinces and
territories were invited to attend. At the close of this
important meeting, the provinces and territories
adopted a declaration reaffirming
their shared commitment to the fight against
- California: In 2008, Québec joined the
Western Climate Initiative
(WCI), whose objective at the time was to establish a regional carbon market. In 2013, Québec set up its C&T system based
on the WCI’s guidelines, which it helped draft. It furthered its partnership
by signing an
agreement with the California Air Resources Board on the harmonization and integration of the two carbon markets,
which have been linked since 2014. In 2017, Québec and California renewed their linkage agreement, primarily in order to
allow other partners to join the WCI carbon market.