Quebec's energy transition is compromised due to major shortcomings in its implementation, so that the achievement of the greenhouse gas reduction target is still questioned by the Sustainable Development Commissioner.
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In her most recent report tabled this morning in the National Assembly, the Commissioner for Sustainable Development, Janique Lambert, tarnishes the governance of the Department of Energy and Natural Resources.
Led today by Minister Jonatan Julien, the organization does not “effectively and efficiently manage the implementation” of its energy policy, which aims to make Quebec a leader in renewable energy and energy efficiency.
“The shortcomings that we have identified risk compromising Quebec’s energy transition,” even says the commissioner.
Thus, the planned GHG reduction targets of 37.5% for 2030 may not be achieved, she fears.
The objective of this policy is the emergence of a culture linked to energy efficiency, the progressive abandonment of fossil fuels in favor of renewable energies as well as the elimination of waste and overconsumption.
The report recalls that 70% of emissions are generated by the energy sector.
However, six years after its adoption, the ministry is still unable to assess the reduction progress made, because it has not used the available data.
After her analysis, the commissioner noted “the delay” “overall” in achieving results. The report was produced based on the 2021-2026 reduction plan. In its most recent plan, Quebec has identified 51% of the means to achieve its target.
However, the implementation of the energy policy is not going as planned, says the commissioner.
Quebec has developed indicators and target reduction results for only 55 of the 225 measures included in the plan.
“According to the information available in the summer of 2021, more than a quarter of the measures of the plan were not deployed according to the planned deadline, because it had been canceled or postponed by at least one year”, indicates the report.
The quality of information concerning the energy transition by the Ministry of Energy to decision-makers is inadequate, which may compromise the issues related to the achievement of reduction targets.
Spend without evaluating
The implementation of this policy is mainly financed by the Electrification and Climate Change Fund. Here again, the Commissioner is not kind to the management of this budget envelope by the Ministry of the Environment.
No less than $5.4 billion of the Fund's $6.7 billion was allocated for actions without prior assessment, i.e. 80% of expenditures.
“As a result, the longer the ministry delays revising these actions, the more significant sums it commits without improvements being made,” the document says.
The assessment, however, does not include the additional billion added to this plan in the last budget. The ministry also undertakes to evaluate the performance of the actions taken and make adjustments as needed.
However, the report considers that the management of the Fund lacks transparency and that its governance is ineffective. Thus, it is difficult to allow good government coordination in its fight against climate change.
The Commissioner's report also shows that the Ministère des Transports is unable to ensure that the actions taken during the spreading of road salts allow it to limit the negative repercussions on the environment.
The MTQ is also "delayed" in integrating certain best practices to protect vulnerable areas. Then, 80% of the winter maintenance of the roads is entrusted to subcontractors, while Quebec does not know the spreading practices of these companies.