Montréal, November 3, 2022
Amnesty International report: a noble cause, but lack of scientific rigor
In a recent report, Amnesty International makes claims on behalf of the Innu of Pessamit regarding the use of natural resources on their territory—messages that are consistent with our discussions with the community. But on the issue of climate change, the report lacks scientific rigor.
What did surprise us is Amnesty International’s claim that Hydro-Québec is part of the climate change problem—more specifically that our reservoirs are major emitters of greenhouse gases (GHGs), and methane in particular. However, the publications on which the organization based its assertions do not distinguish between our reservoirs and those located in more temperate climates. Yet the distinction is fundamental.
Our cold, oxygen-rich waters with low vegetation density mean our reservoirs emit less GHGs. That is why the US Northeast is looking to us to help the region achieve its GHG emissions reduction targets. On climate change issues, Hydro-Québec is part of the solution.
The report also refers to the environment changes our facilities bring about. It is important to remember that all power generation options have an environmental impact. But a few years after impoundment, our reservoirs become rich ecosystems. We also implement several measures to mitigate the environmental impacts of our projects, which include maintaining instream flows to preserve the natural riverbeds and protecting banks from erosion.
« With respect to the Innu community of Pessamit, we are determined to build bridges, and discussions continue at the community’s pace, says Julie Boucher, Vice President – Sustainability, Community Relations and Communications at Hydro-Québec. We cannot act on behalf of the federal and provincial governments in land claim proceedings, but we can submit proposals to address the presence of our facilities on their territory. That is an avenue we are currently pursuing with various Indigenous communities. »
Hydro-Québec is determined to always do better as regards its environmental footprint and relations with Indigenous communities. Our work with the community of Pessamit is ongoing, and we continue to extend our hand to them.