September 18, 2015 - Colloquium

Toward Low Carbon Societies

Paris will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in December 2015. Expectations and challenges run high: 196 countries will seek to reach a binding international agreement aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit the global temperature increase to +2 °C.

Ahead of the COP21 we aim to take stock of climate policies in focusing on Canada and the European Union. The one-day conference is divided in two sessions: the first addresses the energy transition from the perspective of climate policies; the latter focuses on the market as an instrument to reduce carbon emissions. Comparing Canadian and European approaches will make it possible to assess their strengths and weaknesses.

The event is jointly organized by CÉRIUM (the Montreal centre for international studies at the Université de Montréal).

Free entrance but registration is required at

The full programme is available here.

Maison du développement durable
50, Ste-Catherine W. St.

8:00 | Opening Session

Welcome of participants

Fruits, pastries, coffee/tea

Opening remarks

Maya Jegen, Professor of political science, Université du Québec à Montréal, Member of the European Union Center of Excellence.

Hugo Séguin, Lecturer, École de politique appliquée de l’Université de Sherbrooke, Fellow at CÉRIUM.

Keynote: Towards an International agreement on climate in Paris

Nicolas Chapuis, Ambassador of France in Canada

9:00 | Panel 1: Climate Policies

How to Create Coherence and Ambition Within Decentralized Structures?

Decentralization characterizes climate governance in Canada and the European Union. Even if both have important prerogatives in terms of climate policy, the levers of action in terms of reducing carbon emissions such as country planning, transportation, industrial policy, natural resources and energy policy are mainly the jurisdiction of the member states and the provinces. How do the European Union and Canada prepare for the Paris Conference in this setting of multilevel governance? What are their commitments? Are there any consultation mechanisms between supranational and national, respectively between national and subnational levels? How can the European Union and Canada ensure the compliance with their commitments?


Oliver Geden, Head of research EU/Europe, Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (German Institute for International and Security Affairs), Berlin.

Scott Vaughan, President and Chief executive officer, International Institute for Sustainable Development.


John Drexhage, Senior advisor, Coop Carbone. 

2:00 | Panel 2 : Carbon Markets 2.0.

From Fragmented Markets to a Global Market?

Carbon markets are often promoted as economically and environmentally efficient and flexible instruments to reduce carbon emissions. The EU emissions trading system (EU ETS), launched in 2005, is the first and biggest international carbon market covering almost half of EU’s emissions. Critics point out that allowances are issued too freely, which leads to the collapse of the carbon price and removes the incentive of the instrument. In North America the Western Climate Initiative gives rise to the establishment of a carbon cap-and-trade system. California and Quebec are innovative in terms of including the transport sector in the carbon market. This session will address the following questions: what are the current challenges of these two carbon markets? Will they endure and contribute effectively to reduce carbon emissions? Can they coexist or should they be integrated in a single global market? Are they compatible with other instruments such as carbon taxes? how can free riding be prevented and other jurisdiction be encouraged to join carbon pricing initiatives?


Jean-Yves Benoît, Director, Carbon market, Government of Québec.

Andrei Marcu, Senior Advisor, Head of the CEPS Carbon Market Forum, Deputy Director of the Energy Climate House.


Paul Lanoie, Commissioner, Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, Professor, HEC Montréal.

4:30 | Concluding Remarks 

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