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Support for Research and Innovation

Research on adaptation to the effects of climate change

Climate change has real consequences. Through its Climate Change Action Plan, the government is investing in adaptation in order to not only develop knowledge and expertise, but also to anticipate risks associated with climate change.

In recent decades, major weather events in Québec have drawn attention to the impacts of climate change and the importance of making sure we are well prepared. In 2001 the Québec government, Environment Canada, and Hydro-Québec set up the Ouranos consortium, which was subsequently joined by four Québec universities. Over the years, numerous research partnerships have been established with government ministries, universities, and an array of public and private institutions, bringing together over 400 scientists and professionals.

Unique in Canada, Ouranos is a network of climate scientists and experts studying the physical, human, and societal impacts of climate change. They work to improve our understanding of the effects of climate change in Québec and recommend the actions needed to adapt to it.

Ouranos, an internationally recognized organization, has so far worked on over 100 adaptation-related projects in fields as varied as health, the built environment, the marine environment, energy, ecosystems and biodiversity, northern environments, forest resources, agriculture, water management, and tourism.

Here are a few of the projects conducted by Ouranos:

  • Synthesis of climate change knowledge in Québec

  • Impacts of climate change on cliff erosion in the St. Lawrence estuary and the Gulf of St. Lawrence

  • Economic analysis of the impacts of and adaptation to climate change in the Québec forest industry

  • Impacts of climate change and physical limitations on coastal ecosystem re-adjustment in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and an evaluation of impact mitigation measures

  • Economic study on adaptation and the impacts of climate change on the St. Lawrence River

  • Climate change impacts on pavements in Québec’s road networks

  • Updating of design standards and procedures for hydro-agricultural works in a context of climate change

See the Publications section on the Ouranos website for more information.

Technological innovation and expertise

Québec is banking on technological innovation and expertise to find new solutions for achieving a 20% reduction in its GHG emissions by 2020 (compared to 1990 levels) and ensuring that Québec society is better able to handle ongoing climate change.

Income generated by the carbon market has allowed Québec to invest in spurring innovation and developing energy efficiency, green technology, and transportation electrification, all of which are emerging markets that create jobs.

Technological innovation and expertise contribute to economic development by

  • Enabling businesses to reduce their production costs, making them more competitive and creating high level jobs in Québec’s regions

  • Creating high-added-value jobs in a promising global industry, namely green and renewable energy

  • Reducing Québec’s dependence on oil imports

  • The Climate Change Action Plan also supports efforts to market the most promising technologies for

    • Using emerging energy sources and improving energy efficiency
    • Enhancing and developing green technology and processes to reduce GHG emissions

The government acts as an important catalyst by supporting businesses, developing regulations based on best practices, and funding innovative projects for the future.

Progress in the transportation sector

The transportation sector accounts for nearly 45% of GHG emissions and a considerable amount of air pollutant emissions. So this is an area where much remains to be done and where workable solutions will require research and innovation.

Transportation electrification is a top priority for the Québec government. It has the potential to drive wealth creation (economic spinoffs related to electric power generation in Québec’s regions, development of promising technology sectors, creation of high quality jobs, and the reduction of oil imports), while also reducing Québec’s GHG emissions.

Québec enjoys significant advantages with respect to transportation electrification:

  • Readily available electric power from a renewable source

  • Internationally recognized expertise in the production and transmission of electricity and the development of related technology (electric motors, batteries, charging systems, embedded systems)

  • A strong industrial base in ground transportation comprising 650 businesses and some 30,000 jobs, including roughly 30 businesses and 3,000 jobs in the more specialized field of electric transportation.

Québec chose hydroelectricity as its main source of power a long time ago. Today, electricity meets more than 40% of Québec’s energy needs. Thanks to innovation and technological developments, the transportation sector can now benefit from this strategic choice!

Visit the website of Ministère des Transports for more information on various aspects of transportation electrification.

Freight transport is essential to our economy. Although this sector’s GHG emissions have grown steadily since 1990, recent technological innovations will enable Québec to make big gains in this area.

The Climate Change Action Plan targets trucks that carry goods by road and city trucks used for collecting residual materials or making deliveries. Some potential measures include

  • Purchasing equipment to increase fuel efficiency (e.g., air deflectors)
  • Converting heavy vehicles to an alternate fuel source (e.g., liquefied natural gas, electricity, or diesel-electric hybrid power)

Ongoing initiatives will continue to enhance the energy efficiency of freight transport by rail, sea, and air and promote greater use of methods that emit less GHGs, i.e., shipping by rail or water.

Québec’s Maritime Strategy promotes the shipment of goods by water rather than by road. This strategy is supported by GHG emission reduction programs and funding for enhancing the energy efficiency of maritime transport. Tax incentives to help modernize and replace ships powered by heavy fuel oil (a significant source of GHG emissions) will help improve the energy balance of maritime shipping. Modernized ships will also be equipped with more environmentally friendly technology such as liquefied natural gas propulsion.

In Québec, the Climate Change Action Plan supports a number of initiatives to stimulate innovation in the transportation sector:

  • Funding for improving the energy efficiency of road transportation In December 2012, Groupe Robert received $1,725,000 in financial assistance from Ministère des Transports to purchase 115 vehicles powered by liquefied natural gas. This reduced the group’s GHG emissions by nearly 7,000 tons of CO2 equivalent a year.

  • Initiatives to reduce or prevent greenhouse gas emissions by developing intermodal transport (in French). In December 2012, CSX Intermodal Terminals Inc. received $6,000,000 in financial assistance to build an intermodal terminal in Valleyfield providing rail services for shipping containers currently moved by truck. The estimated reduction in GHG emissions associated with this project is 122,000 tons of CO2 equivalent a year. The terminal was inaugurated in May, 2015.

  • New electric propulsion system. In 2012, $1,300,000 in funding was awarded to Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. (BRP) and TM4, a subsidiary of Hydro-Québec, to build a new electric propulsion system for light recreational vehicles.

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