Madam Speaker, as I mentioned on April 30, during the first hour of debate on this motion, climate change is one of the biggest challenges that the world has to face. It is imperative to act without delay, and in an efficient and fair manner. The Bloc Québécois is proposing a plan that will enable Canada to get back on track and to move as close as possible to the targets set by the Kyoto protocol. Furthermore, this plan meets the reduction target recommended by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to prevent global warming and its irreversible consequences.
As my colleague mentioned earlier, this plan is primarily based on the establishment of absolute greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, with 1990 as the base year. The plan is also based on a territorial approach, on the creation of a carbon exchange, and on federal measures that the government can implement in its own areas of jurisdiction. Motion No. 287 deals with the implementation of a major component of the Bloc Québécois' plan, namely the establishment of a carbon exchange with absolute emission targets, and with 1990 as the base year.
I remind the House that a carbon exchange is a tool enabling a company which has brought its greenhouse gas emissions below its reduction objectives to sell the tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions that it would still be entitled to emit. This is a powerful financial incentive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, because the company can cash in on its reductions. However, a carbon exchange can only achieve its full potential if absolute greenhouse gas emission reduction targets are set. I should also point out that the base year, 1990, is a very important part of this motion.
I want to make all hon. members aware of this: the year 1990 is not only an environmental issue, but also an economic issue. There are hundreds of millions of dollars at stake. Let us imagine that there is a real carbon exchange in place right now. I am predicting that there will be one eventually, despite the unwillingness of the Conservative government. So, let us imagine that there is such a carbon exchange now.
Quebec reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 2.8% between 1990 and 2006. In Quebec, many companies decreased emissions whereas in Alberta and Saskatchewan emissions rose by 36.6% and 33% respectively. By choosing 2005 as the base year, all efforts made between 1990 and 2005 will be invalidated. They will count for nothing. It is important to understand that the more we reduce our emissions, the more difficult it will be to further reduce them.
Meanwhile, the oil companies have been increasing their emissions for 16 years. Thus, they have a significant “cushion”, if you will, of emissions. Their capacity for reductions will be greater since their emissions are already so high. If we establish a carbon exchange with absolute targets and 2005 as the base year, it is possible that companies in Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes, which have made efforts to cut emissions, may have to buy emissions permits from the oil companies, which racked up their emissions just in time for the 2005 base year. It is as though the oil companies themselves were proposing the 2005 base year.
I would like to remind my colleagues how important the 1990 base year is to my motion. There will be a carbon exchange with absolute targets. You know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Even the Conservative government knows it. Many members of this House have companies in their ridings that have already made efforts to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The 1990 base year is the only option that is fair to them. It will ensure that they will not have to turn to oil companies to purchase emissions credits. That would be adding insult to injury.
In closing, I would like to thank the members from all parties who spoke about this motion, especially the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, the Bloc Québécois environment critic who has championed this cause for many years.