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Quebec wants bolder greenhouse gas emissions cuts by 2030

Quebec Environment Minister David Heurtel responds to reporters' questions Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at the legislature in Quebec City. Quebec has introduced bolder targets for reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030.

Jacques Boissinot/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Quebec has introduced bolder targets for reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2030.

Environment Minister David Heurtel said Thursday he wants emissions cut by 37.5 per cent when compared with 1990 levels.

Public consultations will take place this fall and the final target will be announced ahead of an international climate-change conference in Paris later this year.

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Heurtel called the 37.5 per cent target the most ambitious in Canada — he said Ontario's is 37 per cent for the same periood — but added the conversion to a cleaner economy will create opportunities for economic development.

"Changing our habits is sometimes beneficial," he said at a news conference. "Take smokers, for example. They change their habits. That's not a sacrifice because they're improving their quality of life. That's what we're doing here. By proposing a target to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, we want to improve our health.

"Is it going to be hard work? Yes. But what's important to point out is there are going to be also a lot of great opportunites linked to achieving that target — economic, social. It's going to allow us to develop a new economy for the 21st century."

He said transportation and construction are two key areas where a reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions is required.

Heurtel also called on the federal government to invest massively in green technology and to recognize the urgency in acting to fight climate change.

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