Quebec is taking advantage of the opening of the Conference of the Parties (COP15) on biodiversity in Montreal to announce an investment of $650 million to ensure the protection of 30 per cent of its territory by 2030.

Quebec Premier François Legault, accompanied by Environment Minister Benoit Charette, made the announcement on Tuesday afternoon.

According to François Legault, this plan is "the most important investment in the protection of the territory and biodiversity in the history of Quebec."

The premier said the "Nature 2030 Plan" will have three components: the first is "to give Quebecers more access to nature"; the second is "to protect our threatened and vulnerable species"; and the third "is to support Indigenous leadership in biodiversity conservation."

The preservation of 30 per cent of the land and oceans is the flagship goal of COP15.

"I am first and foremost very proud that our government has increased Quebec's protected area from 10 per cent to 17 per cent. We are now the first in Canada in terms of the absolute size of protected areas. And I am committed today to reaching the target of 30 per cent of protected areas by 2030," said Legault in a speech to delegates from 196 countries, but also in the presence of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Secretary General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres.

Charlevoix region of Quebec

In his speech, the Quebec premier highlighted the province's "clean energy."

"Hydro-Quebec has just signed a major contract to export clean energy to New York State. This clean energy will allow New York State to eliminate the equivalent [greenhouse gases] of one million cars. This is proof that states like Quebec can make a difference internationally, and for the planet," he said.

He also recalled that last June, Benoit Charrette designated 11 new plant species as threatened or vulnerable and that his government announced last week the designation of 27 new wildlife species as threatened or vulnerable.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Dec. 6, 2022