Ministerial Forum on Energy and the Environment Joint solutions for the reduction of greenhouse gases
Québec City, February 12, 2007 – At the conclusion of the Forum, co-chaired by Québec Premier Jean Charest and Vermont Governor James H. Douglas, the energy and environment ministers, commissioners and secretaries of the Eastern Canadian provinces and New England states made a resolute commitment in favour of responsible energy choices based on clean energy sources.
The joint recommendations adopted at the Forum take into account the growing environmental concerns of the population. They will be presented to the 31st Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, scheduled to take place in Prince Edward Island on June 25 and 26.
As the Summit came to a close, Governor Douglas pointed out that“Our energy choices have a clear impact on the environmental legacy we leave our children. The positions we have defined reflect the importance of increased regional cooperation in the fight against climate change and atmospheric pollution, while ensuring energy security and economic development. The productive discussions over the past two days have allowed a frank assessment of the measures that we could, and should, implement.”
Premier Charest, in turn, stated that “Prosperity and environmental protection must no longer be mutually exclusive. Given the extent of the situation, the time has come to replace isolated actions with the implementation of joint solutions in the energy and transportation fields. I am proud to see that Québec's environmental positions, backed up by a firm plan to combat climate change, have been favourably received by our neighbours and partners. Together, we agree that we must do more for the future of the planet.”
The energy and environment ministers, commissioners and secretaries present at the Forum recognized from the outset that energy efficiency must be the first and most important measure taken to ensure protection for the environment, energy security and economic development. As a result, they agreed to consider energy efficiency as a genuine energy option and to discuss the adoption of joint standards. In addition, protocols will be introduced to measure the energy savings achieved and to help the region as a whole work within the same framework.
With respect to trade in energy products, the discussions centred on the best possible use of the region's potential for renewable energy production. As a result, the recommendations target more widespread use of the existing capacity for exchanges of electric power, as well as better integration of intermittent resources such as wind and wave energy.
The energy and environment ministers, commissioners and secretaries of the Eastern Canadian provinces and New England states intend to increase the use of renewable energy from all sources. They also agreed to look at the overall environmental costs of energy production.
Last, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector, a regional action plan will be tabled in 2008 at the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers. The plan will include various measures, including biofuel development, the promotion of energy efficiency, the development of public transit and cooperation with the private sector to improve the efficiency of goods transportation. The introduction of environmental standards on atmospheric emissions, similar to those in effect in California, will also be recommended.
The Forum, held under the responsibility of the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, gave the representatives of the region's governments an opportunity, for the first time, to discuss fundamental energy and environmental objectives simultaneously, with input from experts and representatives in the relevant sectors of activity.
The Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers, established in 1973, is made up of the governors of six New England states (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont) and the Premiers of Québec and the Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island). For over thirty years, the governors and premiers have met annually to discuss various issues of shared interest, adopt joint positions and agree on intervention strategies for regional issues.
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