A year 2018 under the sign of climate change

Une année 2018 sous le signe des changements climatiques

Photo: Jacques Nadeau Le Devoir
Quebec is not on track to achieve its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 2020.


The year 2018 has been marked by a particular attention to the issues of the fight against climate change, while Quebec, Canada, and the international community are significant delays in the area. The world ends the year in continuing his path to a wrecked climate repeatedly announced by the science. Balance sheet of the major environmental issues that have marked the last few months.

The controversy of the year

The redemption of the pipeline, Trans Mountain, and the project of its expansion by the government of Justin Trudeau were both greeted by the Alberta and criticized by the government of British Columbia. But beyond the saga policy, the nationalization of an important project of export of oil from the oil sands has been denounced unanimously by the environmental groups. It must be said that the project should help to increase exports of alberta oil to 325 million barrels each year. For conservationists, the expansion of the Trans Mountain will facilitate the growth of the oil industry and will increase the risk of a spill along the pipeline, but also in the marine environment. Not to mention that the growth of the traffic of tankers could pose a threat of death in a population of killer whales as endangered on the west coast.

To (re)read

Our five articles on the environment are the most read of 2018

The success of the year

The recent UN conference on climate, COP24, had the arduous task of finalizing the rules for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. A mission even more complex that with 200 countries around the table, including the government climatonégationniste of Donald Trump, the bet was not won in advance. However, the countries reached agreement on rules that are relatively clear. The catch, of size, is that the countries signatories of the Paris Agreement have not taken any formal commitment to increase their commitments to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases, and this, by the year 2020. However, the most recent report of the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IPCC) is formal : it should now make a major shift towards a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. For the moment, if all countries stick to their commitments, the global warming will reach three degrees celsius by 2100, double the goal for the most ambitious set in the Paris Agreement.

The confirmed failure of the year

The record is clear, even if the liberal government of Philippe Couillard has always denied : the province of Quebec is not on track to achieve its target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 2020. The most recent emission inventory, that is, to 2016, indicates that the decline was 9.1% compared to 1990, whereas the target is 20 %. The mid-term review of the action Plan 2013-2020 on climate change even shows that the planned investment of 4 billion dollars will only stabilize emissions. During this time, the report of the Board of management of the green Fund, which finances this plan, concludes that millions of dollars have been spent on ineffective measures. The government of François Legault, who has acknowledged the failure of the 2020 target, the promise of a climate “effective” in the coming months.

The crisis of the year in Quebec

Before the fall of 2017, very few people in Quebec knew that a high proportion of our recyclable materials were sold to China to be processed there. Quebec has thus been able to rely for years on this weir materials often poorly sorted, and therefore of low quality and low value. However, this enormous market, on which depended a number of western countries, was closed at the turn of 2018, causing a real crisis of recyclable materials which has hit Quebec. The government has injected, in the emergency, a few million dollars to support the sorting centres have taken with tons of materials on the market. But beyond the measures already taken, several industry stakeholders believe that it will be necessary to develop further the principle of the” circular economy “, that is to say that Quebec must recycle more here, instead of relying on exports the recovered materials by the citizens.

The good news of the year

For the first time in more than 20 years, the government of Québec and Canada have agreed in 2018 to establish a marine protected area in the St. Lawrence, with the protection of a marine territory of 1000 km2, appointed to the Bench-Americans, located to the east of the Gaspé peninsula. The northern limit is located at the tip of Forillon national park and the south-west, just to the east of the island Bonaventure. According to the description that, in fact, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, this sector ” is characterized by the diversity of its habitats, by the presence of permanent or seasonal, many species with commercial value, and whales, by the presence of at-risk species and a high diversity of molluscs and crustaceans “. The provincial government and the federal government will, however, be hard put to meet the goal of protecting 10 % of the québec portion of the St. Lawrence by 2020, while this rate is close to today’s 2 %.

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