Memorandum Of Understanding Between The Government Of Ontario And Le Gouvernement Du Québec Concerning Concerted Climate Change Actions 2014
Concerted Climate Change Actions
Memorandum of Understanding
WHEREAS climate change is a significant threat to the development and the security of individuals, communities and states and there is an urgent need to act in order to preserve and enhance, for future generations, the economic, social and environmental conditions that we enjoy;
WHEREAS the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) recently concluded that global warming is unequivocal and that human influence on the climate system is clear;
WHEREAS a consensus exists on the need to limit global warming to a level that would prevent dangerous interference with the climate system and that the "window of opportunity" to achieve this is shrinking rapidly;
WHEREAS the impacts of climate change are affecting and will continue to affect the sustainable development of our societies, in areas such as health, public safety, natural environments, infrastructure and economic development, and thus require significant, immediate and long-term action;
WHEREAS the fight against climate change has positive impacts on the health and safety of citizens, their lives and their environment, as well as on the economies of Ontario and Québec;
WHEREAS a collaborative response to the challenges of climate change will create new and competitive economic opportunities in areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean technologies that promote a transition to a more resilient low carbon economy;
WHEREAS it is necessary to develop a vision and long-term objectives in the fight against climate change to shift, as required, our means of production and consumption;
WHEREAS Ontario and Québec share geographical contiguity within the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Lowlands, Hudson Bay and the Canadian Shield, contiguous watersheds, air-sheds and vast forests;
WHEREAS Ontario's and Québec's populations are concentrated in large urban centres, as well as in remote communities, both have far north plans, including Québec's Plan Nord and Ontario's Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, and both have interest in ensuring development is planned in a sustainable way, while supporting transportation and market linkages;
WHEREAS Ontario and Québec represent approximately 62% of the Canadian population and combine to be the fourth largest economic zone in North America, with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of nearly $1 trillion per year;
WHEREAS cooperation and sharing knowledge and experience between the governments of Ontario and Québec may reduce uncertainties about climate change impacts and may develop innovative solutions for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and adaptation;
WHEREAS Ontario and Québec recognize that initiatives, such as carbon pricing, encouraging technological innovation and flexible market based mechanisms can facilitate the transition to a low carbon economy and promote economic development and job creation;
WHEREAS Ontario and Québec have worked together within the Western Climate Initiative to develop the principles and mechanisms that are the basis of the Québec GHG cap and trade system;
WHEREAS Ontario and Québec acknowledge the necessity for the development, together with other Provincial and Territorial partners, of a coherent and integrated vision for the fight against climate change, including approaches to carbon pricing, in order to sustain a fair and competitive economy while achieving net reductions in greenhouse gases;
THEREFORE the signatories to this Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agree to collaborate on concerted climate change actions. For Ontario and Québec this will include, but is not limited to, the following:
1. Harmonize methods of data collection and inventory of GHG emissions
- Harmonize appropriate reporting requirements to facilitate the implementation of joint initiatives to reduce GHG emissions, including market based initiatives;
- Ensure reporting of GHG emissions is rigorous, transparent and public;
2. Collaborate on market based mechanisms
- Explore the use of market based mechanisms in Ontario, as Québec and California pursue them, as an effective way to curb climate changing emissions while promoting sustainable economic advancement within a competitive global economy;
- Exchange information and learnings on market based approaches to reduce GHG emissions, including building on Québec's experience implementing an emissions trading system and linking with other systems;
3. Accelerate the transition to a low carbon economy
- Exchange processes and approaches with the aim to establish new GHG emission reduction targets for post-2020, particularly in the context of discussions to be held leading up to the 2015 Conference of Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC ) in Paris, and to promote harmonization of long-term targets;
- Collaborate with other jurisdictions on mid-term greenhouse gas emissions reductions to maintain momentum toward 2050 targets consistent with achieving our shared goal to prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system;
- Promote the transition to a low carbon economy through initiatives such as setting a price on carbon, the adoption of cleaner fuel standards, energy efficiency and conservation measures including co-generation and demand management;
- Join forces to advocate and promote the role and recognition of federated states, regional government and local authorities in global efforts aimed at accelerating the transition to a low carbon economy and to share best practices and expertise through their joint participation in international fora such as The Climate Group and the International Carbon Action Partnership;
- Work together to ensure that climate change considerations are an integral part of discussions related to energy issues;
- Promote research, development and deployment of clean technologies in Ontario and Québec, share best practices and explore opportunities to develop regional clean-tech cluster partnerships;
- Collaborate and share knowledge and experience regarding the implementation of approaches to reduce GHG emissions in different sectors, such as transportation and buildings;
- Promote expansion of the electrification of the transportation sector through initiatives that facilitate the deployment of electric vehicles;
4. Enhance public awareness
- Facilitate cooperation between communications contacts and networks to strengthen communication to the public, business, industry and environmental advocates;
- Exchange information and approaches to engage citizens to take action on climate change;
- Share evaluation results of communication initiatives to improve and strengthen ongoing public engagement;
5. Promote knowledge sharing and cooperation for adaptation to climate change
- Share the knowledge and the experiences regarding the implementation of government policies that address climate change adaptation, such as Climate Ready: Ontario's Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan 2011-2014 and Government Strategy for Adapting to Climate Change 2013-2020 - Québec;
- Facilitate cooperation between climate and adaptation researchers, with the aim to enhance research capacity and explore opportunities for joint projects on adaptation;
- Focus this cooperation on coordinated efforts to evaluate the socio-economic impacts of climate change and the benefits of adaptation.
Ontario and Québec, recognizing that intergovernmental collaboration is vital to realize these actions, will continue to promote strengthened cooperation with all governments, as well as with municipalities, stakeholders and the public.
Ontario and Québec will strengthen joint efforts to increase collaboration with the Canadian federal government and Provincial and Territorial governments, based on the principles of this MOU and through linkages to other forums including the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment and the Council of the Federation to take concerted actions on climate change and to promote the transition to low carbon economies. These efforts will be deployed through such initiatives as the Council of the Federation's Canadian Energy Strategy. This collaboration also extends to international and regional jurisdictions, including U.S. States.
The Signatories charge the Ministers responsible for climate change issues, with ensuring the effective implementation of this agreement. The Ministers will establish an Ontario-Québec working group specifically focused on the fight against climate change, co-chaired by the Deputy Ministers responsible for climate change issues. The working group will facilitate the implementation of the objectives of this MOU and will report progress regularly to the respective Ministers in charge of climate change. A work plan will be established for this purpose.
7. General provisions
This MOU does not create legally binding obligations on the signatories.
Nothing in this MOU derogates from the powers, rights or privileges of the legislatures or governments of Québec and Ontario, including any powers, rights or privileges relating to language, nor can it affect the interpretation of legislation or any regulation, by-law or order made under an Act.
The signatories may amend this MOU by a written document signed by each signatory.
Either Ontario or Québec may terminate this MOU by providing at least 2 months written notice to the other signatory.