Environmental groups hope climate change remains a priority in Quebec election campaign
The economy is a major concern for voters but so is climate change and environmental groups are hoping the issue will be given enough airtime as the election campaign picks up steam in Quebec.
Quebec solidaire (QS) says it's placing the environment as its top priority.
The party commits to reducing greenhouse gas emissions 55 per cent below 1990 levels by 2030.
The Parti Quebecois (PQ) and the Quebec Liberals have set a slightly less ambitious goal of 45 per cent.
Either way, that’s just eight years away and environmental group Equiterre says a massive cut in emissions is possible but will mean sweeping changes.
"In order to have an objective, it has to be accompanied by a robust plan, and that means transforming many sectors of our society — transportation, building, waste management, and agriculture — and they should all be aligned on a climate emergency," said Colleen Thorpe, Equiterre's executive director
Greenpeace says transportation accounts for roughly 45 per cent of Quebec's greenhouse gas emissions.
"Public transit needs to be much more competitive than solo cars and for that we need to have massive investment like we’ve never seen. At least half of the new funding for infrastructure invested in public transit," said Patrick Bonin, a climate and energy campaigner with Greenpeace.
For the ruling CAQ party in Quebec, its 2018 plan committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5 per cent by getting more people into electric vehicles and banning gas cars by 2035.
So far, Bonin says that plan is falling short.
"Yes, we need to electrify but we can't just spend hundreds of millions of dollars by supporting buying electric cars, we also need to reduce the use of cars in general and for that we need to put a price on pollution," he said.
The Quebec Conservatives have not made a commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at all. In fact, it proposes to invest in a liquified natural gas project.
The party argues that by producing energy locally, it lessens our carbon footprint globally. However, environmentalists say investing in fossil fuel infrastructure is the wrong way to go.
"We know that there's a huge energy transition going on worldwide and that energy transition is going to mean that fossil fuels will no longer be needed in the future so it is wasting public money and, of course, it is literally fueling climate change," said Thorpe.
The Equiterre head said she's hoping to see the candidates discuss climate issues in a televised debate during this election.