Ontario is planning to introduce a new “regulatory plan” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but won’t commit to a timeline or to aligning that plan with Canada’s targets under the Paris Agreement, the Globe and Mail reports.
The commitment from Environment Minister Rod Phillips came after Climate Action Network-Canada (CAN-Rac) released a letter signed by 37 of its member organizations, urging Premier Doug Ford to commit to the previous Wynne government’s target of a 37.5% GHG reduction from 1990 levels by 2030.
“Ambitious targets are critical to having a plan that works,” said CAN-Rac Executive Director Catherine Abreu, executive director of the Climate Action Network Canada. “It is irresponsible to come out with a bill that will wipe out all of Ontario’s existing climate policies and have nothing in the wings to replace them.”
(Disclosure: Energy Mix Productions was one of the signatories to the CAN-Rac letter.)
Phillips told the Globe the new provincial regulations would replace the previous government’s cap-and-trade program “while avoiding burdensome costs on consumers and businesses,” the Globe states. However, in contrast to Ford’s campaign trail emphasis on cost-cutting, Phillips “acknowledged the regulations in the Tory plan will come with a price tag.”
“When you have something as important as climate change—and we all agree there is a problem, where we disagree is on the solution—one should expect there is going to be a cost in tackling any tough problem,” Phillips told the Globe’s Shawn McCarty in a phone interview.
“The new government is currently passing legislation that will formally kill the cap-and-trade carbon pricing plan established by former premier Kathleen Wynne, which set a limit on emissions for fuel distributors and large industry but allowed them to buy and sell allowances in order to reduce the overall cost of emission reductions,” McCarthy writes. “Under the legislation, the government must prepare a climate plan, set a target for emission reductions, and report regularly on the progress being made to meet that goal,” but Phillips set no deadline for getting that done.
“We’ll bring our target forward when we bring our plan forward,” he said. “The best approach is to have a plan, and then any targets as part of the plan.”