Québec solidaire unveiled its plan Sunday to reduce greenhouse gases by 55 percent, from 1990 levels, by 2030.

The party is banking on a series of measures, including a bonus-malus system for cars based on gas consumption, advancing the ban on gas-powered car sales from 2035 to 2030, and creating an inter-city bus and train transportation network.

For party co-spokesperson Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, this is the government's "last chance" to take the necessary steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"In 2026, it will be too late," he warned at a press briefing in Montreal in the Verdun borough.

"The science is clear. In the next 10 years, it's make or break."

Before Québec solidaire announced its strategy, Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) leader François Legault presented his party as the only one with a "credible" environmental plan.

But Nadeau-Dubois denies this claim, stating that eight independent experts have attested to the validity of Québec solidaire's plan. Among said experts, two have collaborated with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

The party's plan would require $7 billion in operating expenses and $29 billion in capital expenditures during the first mandate.

Québec solidaire would also pass legislation forcing the government to meet its mid-term reduction targets if it falls behind, along the same lines as the Balanced Budget Act.

It would also tighten the screws on large industrial emitters. Currently, all industries emitting more than 25,000 tons of C02 are subject to Quebec's cap-and-trade system (SPEDE). Under Gabriel-Nadeau's party, industries emitting over 10,000 tons would also be bound by these obligations.

In addition, the party would introduce a disincentive tax on excess emissions of $100 per tonne, rising to $205 per tonne by 2030. Large emitters would still have to meet 70 per cent of their reductions by 2030, locally.


Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will require significant social and economic changes, the Solidaire candidate acknowledged.

"My opponents, including François Legault, pretend that we can fight climate change without changing anything. That, I think it is lack of honesty. I'll be honest, we must change things. Things have to change in Quebec."

Parti Québécois leader Paul St-Pierre Plamondon said his party's plan is similar to that of Québec solidaire, but notes that his opponent's strategy moves too quickly regarding its bonus-malus system for polluting vehicles.

He said the measure would penalize anyone faced with a lack of electric cars.

"In our plan, we say that there will be a malus when the supply of electric vehicles exceeds the demand and when we have doubled the supply of public transport. We have set this date at 2027," St-Pierre Plamondon said.

But Nadeau-Dubois said the transitions involved in his party's plan could be made smooth for everyone.

"It is not true that we will burden ordinary people, workers, the middle class, who do their best, but who have no choice in their daily lives. We're going to give choices to people who don't have any," he said.

"And to the people who abuse: the big polluters, the ultra-rich who fly around in private jets -- yes, with those people, we're going to be a little tougher." 

This report was first published in French by The Canadian Press on Sept. 4, 2022.