Ontario Tories’ climate plan imposes carbon tax, says environment watchdog
Ontario Tories’ climate plan imposes carbon tax, says environment watchdog
Nations falling short of emissions cuts set by Paris climate pact, analysis finds
02 December, 2018, 19:40
The Carbon Trust appears to be a model similar to Australia's Emissions Reduction Fund to address climate change. For Ontario, this means a reduction in carbon emissions from 161 megatons to 143 megatons by 2030.
Schreiner pointed to recent findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which suggest emissions need to be reduced by 45 per cent from 2010 levels to meet that goal.
Phillips said the Progressive Conservative government is to spend $400 million over four years on the taxpayer-funded Ontario Carbon Trust to partner with the private sector on clean technologies.
The trust includes a $50 million "reverse auction", which will allow businesses to send in proposals for emission-reduction projects and bid on government contracts that will be awarded based on the lowest-cost reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. According to the report, the globe may need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 19 billion metric tons by 2030 to close the 2°C gap.
It will also encourage meaningful local environmental action through initiatives such as a new province-wide day of action to fight litter, alongside meaningful partnerships with organizations like Ducks Unlimited and the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters to fight invasive species and encourage conservation.
Meanwhile, despite months of assurances by the Tories that they would not impose a carbon price, Ontario's environmental commissioner said the province is doing just that with its new climate change plan.
"It's a plan that makes a clean break from the status quo, and it's a plan that balances a health environment and a healthy economy", Phillips said.
Saskatchewan's plan to reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions includes a requirement for large emitters to register with the province.
"Any serious plan to tackle climate change needs to have a price on pollution", Caroline Theriault, McKenna's director of communications, said in a statement. "This is not a climate plan".
Provincial Attorney General Caroline Mulroney said Ontario can not stand back as the federal government imposes the carbon tax.
The made-in-Ontario plan also recommends increasing the availability and accessibility of information on energy and water consumption so that households and businesses understand their energy use. "They're imposing a carbon price with a benchmark - which is what the federal carbon tax is".
"It's a significant issue", he continued, adding that on Thursday, New Brunswick became the latest province to join a court-challenge to the federal carbon tax (Saskatchewan was the first).
In response, Ottawa announced that provinces and territories that do not have climate pricing plans of their own that meet federal standards, like those in Quebec, and B.C., will face the imposition of a federal carbon tax, as well as a new regulatory fuel tax.
Prior to the announcement, Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said she was skeptical about the Ford government's climate plan.
In short, it's the difference between what nations need to do and what they're actually doing to prevent unsafe levels of climate change.
Phillips noted the new climate change plan replaces the previous Liberal government's cap-and-trade system. Ford campaigned vigorously against cap-and-trade, characterizing it as a carbon tax and calling it the "worst tax ever".
Philips has said Wednesday he was looking to jurisdictions around the world, including Australia. "This is why a made-in-Ontario solution makes sense".
Ontario Environment Minister Rod Phillips discusses the government's climate plan during a press conference at the Cold Creek Conservation Area in Nobleton, Ont. on Thursday, November 29, 2018.
There is still a small window to keep global temperature increases below 2°C; the one for achieving the 1.5°C goal is even smaller.
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