A screenshot from the Government’s website on Quebec’s position at the Copenhagen climate talks
Premier Jean Charest is spreading the gospel about Quebec’s ‘avant garde’ approach to reducing climate change-causing emissions.
The Premier’s message on ‘Quebec vers Copenhague’ speaks of Quebec’s achievements in developing a ‘modern economy’ that will allow for Quebec to become a ‘world power’ in the domain of ‘green energy’.
Notably, the Premier has announced that emissions will be reduced 20% as of 1990 levels, which is the most ambitious target set by any North American jurisdiction. This is possible because Quebec’s economic growth has not required new GHG producing power plants, thanks to the vast reserves of hydro electric energy up north.
Missing from the Premier’s message is ANY message about reducing road transportation-related greenhouse gases, which account for about 30% of total emissions. (The Premier also failed to mention that transportation emissions are increasing fastest – 25% between 1990 and 2005 – mostly because Quebeckers are driving larger vehicles greater distances than ever before.) And of course, there was no mention of all the government’s economy-stimulating, but traffic-generating highway projects, like the Turcot Interchange, the highway 25 extension, the extension of the 13 to Mirabel and the ‘modernization of Notre Dame’.
The omission of this more honest portrait of Quebec’s greenhouse gas situation would be forgivable were it not for the ludicrously transparent greenwashing in its place. A particularly comical example of this is the “camionnette électrique Nemo” pictured above, carrying a load of gardening materials in… of all auto-oriented places, Laval.
Maybe the PR team on this one thought that visitors to the website wouldn’t bother to read the caption. Or perhaps they imagined that this sod-carrying ‘green truck’ could supplant existing mental images of Laval, with its car-dependent commuters jamming up the 15 south because they don’t care to take their chances on the AMT trains (like all casinos, odds generally favour the house).
While all efforts by government’s to curb greenhouse gases should be supported, this website is really an insult to the intelligence.
A piece of advice for our Premier on the eve of the Copenhagen summit: either hire a PR team that green washes a bit more subtly. Or better yet, take this opportunity to target the province’s real sources of greenhouse gas emissions.