On September 22-23, Premier of Québec and co-chair of The Climate Group’s States and Regions Alliance, Philippe Couillard, took part in the 6th Climate Week–New York City (CW-NYC), a flagship event in the fight against climate change that brings together representatives from 125 countries.
In addition to highlighting the leadership of Québec and federated States in the fight against climate change and promoting the implementation of a price on carbon in the global economy, the Premier took advantage of the first day of activities to hold political and economic meetings.
Toward a low carbon economy
Mr. Couillard delivered a speech at the opening session of CW-NYC with the theme Leaders’ vision for a low carbon economy. The opening session was attended by a number of prominent personalities, US Secretary of State John Kerry, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, and Christiana Figueres, the Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. During this panel, the Premier emphasized the importance of implementing initiatives that will make it possible to green our economies and combat climate change more effectively. He cited the recent linking of the Québec and California carbon markets as an example.
“Québec has set ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets for itself that have created a precedent on the international scene. The successes of Québec’s carbon market, especially since its linking with California’s carbon market in January 2014, have resonated well beyond our borders. We are convinced that this type of system, which sets a price on carbon, will not only make it possible to strengthen regional cooperation and to fight climate change more effectively, it will also speed up the transition towards a sustainable, low carbon economy,” said Mr. Couillard.
In the afternoon, the Premier participated in the Global Solutions – Sub National Innovation session with Peter Shumlin, the Governor of Vermont, Eduardo Paes, the Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, and Frank Jensen, the Mayor of Copenhagen.
During the discussions, Mr. Couillard highlighted the essential role played by regional governments in the fight against climate change and the concrete actions that enable them to be genuine agents for change. In this respect, the Premier stressed Québec’s support for the World Bank declaration entitled Putting a Price on Carbon as well as for the international Compact of States and Regions, which will incorporate the greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals of federated States and Regions and which will take stock of progress in achieving these goals.
The Premier reaffirmed Québec’s firm resolve to continue playing a leading role in the international fight against climate change during a private meeting with Climate Group CEO Mark Kenber.
Economic and political meetings
Mr. Couillard’s trip to New York City was also an occasion for productive economic and political meetings. The Premier, accompanied by representatives of Québec companies, first went to One World Trade Center to hold discussions with Patrick J. Foye, the Executive Director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, on possible business opportunities for Québec in light of the future infrastructure projects of the PA, which are estimated at several billion dollars.