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Biodiversity, a climate ally - HABITAT

We are co-signing this open letter with Sylvia Wood, Ph.D., Director of Science and Research, Habitat.

On February 8, the Quebec government launched its "Accelerating Local Climate Transition (ATCL)" program, announcing a $500 million investment over 5 years to support municipalities in the fight against climate change. This announcement is in line with the Plan for a Green Economy 2030 (PEV), the government policy that guides Quebec's climate transition and sets ambitious targets for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The ATCL program thus offers significant support to the municipal sector in meeting the objectives of the PEV and responding to the growing challenges posed by climate change.

Because yes, the challenges are there. The year 2023 was officially the warmest on record worldwide. In Canada, the climate is warming at twice the global average. The summer of 2023 showed us the already tangible effects of climate change: the scale of forest fires, episodes of extreme heat, the frequency of violent storms and floods.

Biodiversity as an ally

For many years now, science has shown us that biodiversity is essential to maintaining healthy ecosystems, providing services to communities on a sustainable basis. As the erosion of biodiversity risks accelerating the climate crisis, these two issues need to be tackled together to optimize efforts and maximize collective benefits.  As scientists and biodiversity experts, we work closely with a wide variety of local players (cities, municipalities, RCMs, NPOs, private companies, etc.), to raise their awareness of the challenges of the dual crisis, support them in planning their territory and identify solutions adapted to their issues.

Because yes, the solutions are there. Whether in urban, rural or wilderness contexts, the natural infrastructures that surround us represent a large part of the solution to this dual crisis. Unlike grey infrastructure, nature-based solutions generate numerous co-benefits. Among other things, they store carbon and reduce heat islands, while improving access to green spaces, promoting pollination and offering more habitats for biodiversity. 

As a signatory to the Kunming to Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, adopted in 2022 at COP15, Quebec is committed to establishing a Nature 2030 Plan. This text, currently under discussion, will enable us to better protect Quebec's biodiversity and thus contribute to efforts to combat climate change.

Because yes, the science says so. Applying natural solutions is one of the most effective ways of helping to reduce GHG emissions. For example, Canada could prevent the production of 78 megatonnes of CO2 per year by 2030, by improving forest management, among other things.

Today, we welcome the Quebec government's announcement and this collective step in the right direction. We encourage the municipal sector and the entire local ecosystem to seize this unique opportunity to take concrete action to achieve the objectives of the Nature Plan and the Plan for a Green Economy 2030.

Municipalities have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to collaborate and implement cross-disciplinary projects, with a view to optimizing their spin-offs and benefits for communities. It is our collective responsibility to support and accompany them as best we can in these innovative approaches, which bring together the latest social, ecological and economic knowledge for the benefit of all.


Sylvia Wood, Ph.D., Director of Science and Research, Habitat

David Roy, General Manager, Ateliers pour la biodiversité


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