Christinne Muschi The Canadian Press “The goal has always been to plant 2 billion trees by 2030 [and] in 2020, 30 million were planted and last year 60 million and we must arrive at a cruising speed of 300 million per year,” commented Minister Guilbeault at the Montreal Climate Summit.
At the Montreal Climate Summit, federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault announced Wednesday $187 million in funding to “advance climate priorities in Quebec” and more than $40 million for three climate change initiatives. planting trees in the Montreal area.
Before making various government announcements, Steven Guilbeault fired an arrow at the Conservatives and their leader Pierre Poilievre during his speech, quoting US President Joe Biden.
“If you don't climate plan, you don't have a plan for the economy, you don't have a plan for jobs and national or even international security,” the minister said, adding that “every day, Mr. Poilievre's Conservatives challenge … the reality of climate change.”
Federal funding of $40 million announced Wednesday under the “2 Billion Trees” program is expected to plant more than 275,000 trees in the greater Montreal area.
The first initiative, led by the Société de vertissement du Montréal métropolitain (SOVERDI) and the Urban Forest Alliance, aims to plant 200,000 trees by 2030 through “thousands of projects” in schoolyards, hospitals and parking lots, in particular. The federal government must invest $20 million in this project, an amount equivalent to what the City of Montreal will inject. Another twenty million dollars will be disbursed by other municipalities in the metropolitan area where the trees will be planted.
The second initiative, in collaboration with the City of Montreal, is expected to plant more than 64,000 trees in two years in areas of the city that are prone to heat waves. The trees will be used to naturally cool these neighborhoods, but also to mitigate the impacts of flooding, reduce noise pollution and increase biodiversity, in 19 neighborhoods of the city. The Government of Canada will fund this project to the tune of approximately $20 million; the Government of Quebec, nearly 11 million; and the City of Montreal, 10 million.
“We know that one of the best tools we have to fight climate change is nature. It is also one of our best tools for building prosperous and livable cities. Planting more than a quarter of a million new trees in Montreal will in every way contribute to a happier city and a healthier planet,” Minister Guilbeault said in a statement.
Le Minister of the Environment also indicated that the financing of a third project allowed the planting of 11,000 trees in Vaudreuil-Dorion in 2022.
A program criticized
Two weeks ago, a report by the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Jerry V. DeMarco, criticized the federal government's tree planting program.
The Liberals first promised to plant two billion trees, for the specific purpose of capturing carbon, during the 2019 federal election campaign and then allocated a budget of $3.2 billion a year later to make it happen. /p>
An audit of the first two years of planting indicates that it appears the government is not on track to get even 4% of the promised trees in the ground by the end of 2030. Moreover, the Canadian government is not had not signed long-term project agreements with the provinces or territories to fulfill its promises.
“It's true that we have to step up the pace,” acknowledged Minister Guilbeault. “The goal has always been to plant 2 billion trees by 2030 [and] in 2020, 30 million were planted and last year 60 million and we must reach a cruising speed of 300 million a year,” added the Minister.
Millions for Quebec's climate priorities
Minister Guilbeault also announced $187 million on Wednesday to “advance climate priorities in Quebec.” Of this amount, nearly $60 million would be used to help low-income households across the province switch from home heating oil to more affordable options to meet their energy needs.
$127 million will be invested by the federal government “to support initiatives that result in reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and that align with Canada's and Quebec's carbon neutrality goals by 2050.” /p>
The Minister of the Environment explained that this fund is used “mainly to support municipal initiatives”. Cities are therefore invited to present projects “which can take several forms” and which will reduce GHG emissions.
Minister Steven Guilbeault also announced $1.5 million in funding from through the Green Municipal Fund to support 18 local initiatives in Quebec. These initiatives are expected to increase “energy efficiency and sustainability in key areas such as housing, transport, municipal buildings and land use planning”.