Ontario Releases New Climate Change Action Plan

Ontario is continuing to lead in the growth of the low-carbon economy with the release of the province’s Climate Change Action Plan, which will provide people and businesses with tools and incentives to accelerate the use of clean technology that exists today.  “Our government’s Climate Change Action Plan is laying the foundation for cleaner air, a healthier environment, a stronger economy and a better future for our children and grandchildren,” Premier Kathleen Wynne said.

Through this plan, the province will continue to reduce greenhouse gas pollution to fight climate change. “Ontario’s Climate Change Action Plan will create good jobs, help people and businesses reduce their carbon footprint, save money and accelerate a shift to a more sustainable society,” Environment & Climate Change Minister Glen Murray said.”

Environment & Climate Change Minister Glen Murray
Environment & Climate Change Minister Glen Murray

Building on Ontario’s landmark climate change legislation, the plan will ensure that proceeds from the province’s recently finalized cap and trade program are invested in a transparent and accountable way back into green projects that will help households and businesses reduce greenhouse gas pollution and save on their energy costs.

The plan outlines the key actions the government will take to combat climate change, create good jobs in clean tech and construction, increase consumer choice and generate opportunities for investment in Ontario, including:

  • Establishing a green bank that would help homeowners and businesses access and finance energy-efficient technologies to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from buildings.
  • Creating a cleaner transportation system by addressing greenhouse gas pollution from cars on the road today, increasing the availability of zero-emission vehicles on the road tomorrow, deploying cleaner trucks and making transit more available.
  • Halting the ongoing rise in building-related emissions by giving Ontarians more choices, incentives and tools to make the right energy choice for their homes and businesses, by providing better information about energy use by buildings and homes, and making new buildings increasingly energy efficient over time.
  • Making Ontario one of the easiest and most affordable jurisdictions in North America for homeowners and businesses to install or retrofit clean-energy systems like solar, battery storage, advanced insulation and heat pumps, while helping to protect and support low-income households, vulnerable communities and many renters from the cost impacts of carbon pricing.
  • Supporting a carbon market that drives the lowest-cost greenhouse gas emission reductions. Actions in this plan, supported by cap and trade proceeds, will help business and industry make investments that reduce greenhouse gas pollution. This will help save energy costs, improve productivity and global competitiveness, and protect and create jobs.
  • Working in partnership with First Nations and Métis communities to address climate change, with actions guided by Traditional Ecological Knowledge, and helping to build capacity in these communities to participate in the economic opportunities that may arise from these actions.
  • Building on progress, leading by example and acting on opportunities to make government operations carbon neutral. Ontario will achieve this by reducing greenhouse gas pollution across our facilities, operations and procurement.
  • Ensuring that natural, agricultural and forested lands are used in ways that are efficient, sustainable and enhance the removal and storage of carbon from the atmosphere while working with Ontario’s waste sector to leverage different practices and technologies to capture greenhouse gas pollution that would otherwise be released into the air.

The official plans follows the passage of Ontario’s Cap & Trade legislation that is expected to generate $1.8-$1.9 billion in proceeds.  Ontario’s 2016 budget raises prices on gasoline (4.3 cents/ litre) and natural gas used to heat homes ($5/month).