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Benoit Charette happy that the Green Fund has a “cushion”

Photo: Jacques Boissinot archives The Canadian Press “We have revenue growth which is very, very significant. This growth will not maintain the same pace indefinitely, and that’s when we will be happy to have this reserve at our disposal,” said Benoit Charette.

François Carabin in Quebec

April 11, 2024

  • Quebec

The carbon market will not always generate as much revenue, said Wednesday the Minister of the Environment, Benoit Charette, to justify his government's refusal to sell off the huge surpluses from the Electrification and Climate Change Fund (FECC) .

The CAQ minister confirmed on Wednesday the information from La Presse according to which the surpluses recorded at the FECC this year amounted to 1.72 billion of dollars. This is almost the same total as last year.

“We are aware of the surplus, naturally,” argued Mr. Charette at the start of a meeting of the Council of Ministers. Since the Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) came to power in 2018, they have practically continued to increase.

All this despite the warnings of the Green Fund Management Council, which deplored at the start of the first CAQ mandate that the available resources were “not being used to achieve government objectives for reducing GHG emissions”. “These sums would benefit from being reallocated to effective measures,” wrote the organization, which disappeared during the transformation of the Green Fund into the FECC in 2019.

Benoit Charette doesn't worry much. The FECC's revenues, mainly from the carbon market, will not be forever, he said Wednesday.

“We have revenue growth that is very, very significant. This growth will not maintain the same pace indefinitely, and that’s when we will be happy to have this reserve at our disposal,” he said in a press scrum. “It’s important to have a cushion. »

“The goal is to spend them”

In March, Le Devoir reported that the carbon market had enabled Quebec to pay more than $1.5 billion in twelve months in the coffers of the FECC, a record.

“Thanks to new ways of doing things”, almost all — 99% — of the carbon market revenues accumulated in 2022-2023 had been used to finance the 2023-2028 “green plan” presented l last year by the CAQ government, assures Mr. Charette, who wants to continue this momentum. A part of the surpluses observed this year must also be attributed to the previous government, he argues.

“We do not establish an implementation plan to accumulate surpluses. The goal is to spend them,” he said, recalling that these investments had to “give the expected results.”

In its latest green plan, the government planned measures allowing it to achieve 60% of Quebec's greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction targets. In its budget tabled last month, it estimated polluting emissions for 2022 at 79 million tonnes of GHGs, an increase of 1.4 million compared to the previous year.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116