The Legalt government does not need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions when it builds its largest road projects, although MTQ tries to hide the information, our intelligence bureau found.
Use of hybrid and electric vehicles in the workplace, recycling of residual materials and minimization of deforestation: Several measures are planned to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during the repair of the Louis-H-La tunnel fountain.
However, in the name of economic recovery, these efforts will no longer be necessary for other “carbon neutral” sites of the Minister des Transport to Quebec (MTQ). It is about at least six large construction sites and fifteen others.
In 2019, MTQ accepted an order to convert its main road construction sites to carbon neutral. This means that construction is done by trying to reduce GHGs and compensating for what cannot be eliminated by planting trees or purchasing carbon credits.
But the Legault government wants to speed up construction and hopes this approach will slow it down. The Ministry will therefore restrict itself to compensating for GHG emissions at the end of construction.
“Carbon neutrality is an accounting measure that can only be trusted if we have already reduced it,” warns Carbone Boréal, director of compensation and research at the University of Quebec in Chicoutimi, Claude Villeneuve. Nonsense. ”
“You can be carbon neutral [sans réduire les GES]But it will cost more because you will emit more during the project and you will have to compensate more, ”he adds.
Among the many things MTQ tries to cover up, we learned of the ministry’s new orientation through access to information requests.
“The full utilization of the planned steps to carbon neutrality (i.e. creating a mitigation scenario) will not complete the project without delay,” refers to MTQ’s draft response, which was blocked and later modified.
In an internal email, communications director Julie Bertolt emphasized that the answers did not give the impression that the environment was being marginalized.
“As we accelerate our plans, we must avoid at all costs the sensible message that we do not have time to take carbon neutral measures properly,” he explains.
“It seems to me that we need to focus more on our response to the fact that we have many more important projects planned. […]It is impossible to follow the carbon neutralization process (depletion).
Compensating for GHGs does not have to mean greening a project. According to the Turkot exchange, planted trees take 100 years to capture the same amount of pollution from the construction site and carbon credits purchased from the controversial Indian Hydroelectric project.
“Emission offsetting is a hoax, it’s not working, and creating offset plans will delay taking concrete steps to reduce emissions,” said Patrick Bonn of Greenpeace.
Note that the government has also reduced its target for the number of carbon neutral projects.
What is Carbon Neutrality?
For a project to be carbon neutral, it must first try to reduce or eliminate GHG emissions. If this is not possible, emissions can be offset by borrowing in the carbon market. These credits are run by a project that helps clean up, such as planting trees or producing green energy.
MTQ is committed to carbon neutralizing its construction sites. Outbound emissions from machinery and goods used for work will only be offset, and not vehicles traveling in new facilities.
“Compensation for emissions and carbon neutrality claims will not prevent carbon emissions from the atmosphere and global warming in the short term. They remove pollutants from the books of polluters and irresponsible governments,” said Patrick Bonn of Greenpeace.
In 2009, the MTQ Turkot workstation estimated that it would generate 17,000 metric tons of GHG. 7 times as much or 121,000 tons.
The ministry tried Hide information
MTQ’s internal transactions, obtained through a request for access to information, show the extent to which the department sought to conceal information from our intelligence bureau.
Since our first questions to the Ministry of Carbon Neutralization, the file has been described as “sensitive”.
“Since this is an important file, thank you all for looking at it last, and it is handled by more than one department. Office [du ministre François Bonnardel] Of course, the press will be advised before contacting, ”MTQ spokesman Gilles Bayer wrote on March 22.
“We will make sure the cabinet is aware that Quebec is looking for this,” Assistant Secretary of State Isabel Mignold wrote to her aide and senior adviser, Marianne Bebin, on the same day.
Following the intervention of the Deputy Minister’s Office, any hint of abandoning the GHG reduction on “carbon neutral” construction sites disappeared from official responses.
In addition, MTQ keeps its carbon neutral neutrality confidential, which establishes key objectives of the policy and integrates GHG mitigation and offshore processes.
- On March 15, we were first told that this order was not information of a general nature as the document was not “in its final version”.
- Later, when we questioned the Ministry, we were going to say, “The instruction was adopted in 2019. The order is in force and its application is gradual.”
- The deputy minister’s office then called for a “significant amendment”. The fact that this order is in the official reply sent to us was erased.
Prior to our insistence, the MTQ continued to obscure the existence of this order, which sowed suspicion among some civil servants.
“For the text of the email, the order already exists … so I do not really know,” writes Director of Communications Julie Berthold in an internal email.
“Music geek. Coffee lover. Devoted food scholar. Web buff. Passionate internet guru.”