It will take time for Ontario’s regional transit plan for Greater Toronto and Hamilton to ramp up and begin cutting greenhouse gas emissions, but the Pembina Institute is recommending strategies to get quicker reductions.
“Ontario’s current policies are projected to cut 42 megatonnes of carbon pollution by 2020,” writes Regional Director Cherise Burda. “Of those reductions, 4.6 Mt will come from the transportation sector. That’s a problem: a sector that pumps out more than one-third of Ontario’s carbon pollution will only be contributing about one-tenth of its 2020 emissions reductions. Clearly, the transportation sector isn’t pulling its weight yet.”
The province’s regional transit plan, The Big Move, ranks sixth in Pembina’s top-ten list of policies to meet Canada’s 2020 climate targets. But “it takes decades to build new rapid transit,” Burda writes, and “even if the Big Move stays on track, Ontario’s transportation emissions will continue to grow.”
With Ontario seeking public comment on its new climate discussion paper, Burda suggests congestion pricing, a more robust electric vehicle strategy, fuel switching and greater efficiency in freight movement, distance-based car insurance, and climate-smart land use planning as short-term emission reduction options.