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Ontario Falling Short of 2030 Carbon Target, Environmental Commissioner Warns

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.”

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.”

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1 Comment To "Ontario Falling Short of 2030 Carbon Target, Environmental Commissioner Warns"

#1 Comment By René Ebacher On April 14, 2018 @ 1:36 PM

A lot of the growing emissions in Ontario, and in the rest of Canada, are the result of people choosing to buy or invest their money in products that produce more greenhouse gas emissions.
A “Report Inventory on GHG emissions in Ontario” shows that people preferences for less fuel-efficient vehicles and bigger homes have resulted in larger emissions over the years in the transportation and building sectors: “Although federal standards are improving the fuel efficiency of passenger vehicles, their benefit has been more than offset by an increase in both the number of vehicles and the total distance travel. As well, many consumers prefer less fuel-efficient vehicles, such as SUVs, pickup trucks and minivans, which release, on average, 45% more greenhouse gases per kilometre than cars.”
In 2014, transportation was responsible for the largest and fastest growing share of Ontario’s GHG emissions. These emissions have grown by 28% since 1990 (Canada: +42%), and totalled 58.7 Mt CO2 eq ( Canada’s total: 171 Mt CO2 eq).
A National Energy Board’s Market Snapshot (2016-07-14) reveals the same trend in the rest of Canada: “Despite improved fuel economy and emissions standards in most vehicles, the growing trend of consumer preference for SUVs and light trucks has resulted in GHG emissions from light trucks more than doubling, from 22 Mt in 1990 to 50 Mt in 2014, which has more than offset reduction in passenger cars emissions from 52 Mt in 1990 to 36 Mt in 2014.”
Since 1990, residential, commercial and institution buildings emissions in Ontario have increased by 28%. In 2014, they reached 34.8 Mt, with residential buildings contributing 21.8 Mt: “Despite improvements in energy efficiency, population growth and an increase in total floor space have driven total emissions up.”
These statistics show how important “people choices” affect the level of greenhouse gases produced. It shows also the importance for local, provincial and federal authorities to introduce regulations that will help to reduce those emissions. Education is important, but most of the time it’s not enough.