Ontario, Quebec press for climate change action
TORONTO — Ontario, Quebec and California leaders joined together Wednesday to “light a fire” under their respective federal governments to step up the fight against climate change. Canada’s two most populous provinces are “filling the void” left by Ottawa as they try to solve the problem of rising temperatures, Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard said at the two-day Climate Summit of the Americas. Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said she wants the federal government to “hear the message” that they cannot solve the problem alone. California Gov. Jerry Brown chimed in, saying Prime Minister Stephen Harper needs to “get on board.” Federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq is not attending the meeting —she is in her riding celebrating Nunavut Day — but a spokesman said they are the first government in Canadian history to achieve a net-reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and have done so “without implementing carbon taxes or carbon-pricing schemes.” Ontario, Quebec and California are teaming up on a cap-andtrade system in which businesses have a greenhouse gas quota and are able to sell credits to reward efficiency and innovation. Couillard said Wednesday that Quebec had signed a memorandum of understanding to join California and Ontario and other subnational states that “commits ourself to a very ambitious set of targets with only one objective: to keep warming below or at the maximum two degrees by 2050.” Countries don’t need to wait around for federal governments to take action on climate change, Couillard said at the conference, where hundreds of invitationonly delegates from subnational states gathered.