Ontario will fall short of its 2030 carbon reduction target without dramatic changes in consumer behaviour, Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe reported Tuesday, with the release of her 2018 Energy Conservation Progress Report.
“The climate law means that Ontarians must be prepared to reduce emissions from fossil fuel use by 40 to 50% in the next 13 years,” Saxe told media. “This means more conservation and converting some fossil fuel uses, including some gas-fuelled cars and trucks and some heating of our homes and businesses, to electricity.”
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But she said the province’s Long-Term Energy Plan, released last October, “does not take into account the dramatic change required to curb carbon emissions,” the Toronto Star reports. “That’s because the energy blueprint calculated that demand would remain stable, even though the Liberal government is subsidizing electricity to keep hydro rates lower as Ontarians head toward a June 7 election.”
Saxe praised Ontario’s decision to phase out coal-fired generation, even though coal was a less expensive power source. “Electricity was cheap [though not that much cheaper—Ed.], but it came at a very high cost to our environment and health,” she said. But “there is no doubt that our electricity system was a major contributor to poor air quality and higher health costs.”