Preparing to prosper in an era of global economic and environmental change is one of the most important issues in the Ontario election next week, and carbon pricing schemes like the province’s cap-and-trade system are an essential part of the solution, argues Sustainable Prosperity Chair Stewart Elgie in a Toronto Star op ed this week.
Carbon pricing is now in place in seven of the world’s 10 largest economies, Elgie notes, as the world moves to a “cleaner, smarter, low-carbon economy.” And “that is not a left wing or right wing issue,” he stresses. “It is an environmental and economic reality. One that requires leadership from an Ontario government of any stripe—through smart policies, incentives, and (yes) carbon pricing, to help Ontarians prepare for and prosper in a changing world.”
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That shift is already under way, with high-efficiency buildings, electric vehicles, bike paths, rooftop solar, and clean technologies for industry rapidly becoming the norm. “Clean energy now draws more investment than fossil fuel energy worldwide,” he says, and low-carbon policies and incentives triggered by the Paris Agreement have “helped to unleash private initiative and accelerate the pace of clean technology development—reducing the costs of solar panels and electric car batteries by 80% in the past seven years, for example.”
Elgie cites Ontario as a frontrunner in the transition, but warns this is no time to be complacent. “The shift to a cleaner, more innovative economy is under way around the world,” he writes, and the province’s next government will have to show policy leadership to help businesses, workers, and families embrace the changes ahead.