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Équiterre welcomes amibitious Ontario climate plan

May 16, 2016, Ottawa – Équiterre welcomes today the news released by the Globe and Mail of the Government of Ontario’s ambitious climate plan including $7 billion investment in climate-friendly measures.

The new programs will be paid for out of revenue from the province’s upcoming cap-and-trade system.These investments and Ontario’s cap-and-trade system are the major elements of the province’s strategy to cut emissions to 15% below 1990 levels by 2020, 37% by 2030 and 80% by 2050.

The Climate Action Plan, will include

  • $3.8-billion for new grants, rebates and other subsidies to retrofit buildings, and move them off natural gas and onto geothermal, solar power or other forms of electric heat.
  • New building code rules that will require all homes and small buildings built in 2030 or later to be heated without using fossil fuels, such as natural gas.
  • $285-million for electric vehicle incentives. These include rebates for every electric vehicle purchased and to install home charging;
  • New lower-carbon fuel standards would require all liquid transportation fuels, such as gasoline and diesel, to slash life-cycle carbon emissions by 5% by 2020.
     
  • $174-million to make the government carbon neutral. This will include retrofitting buildings, allowing some bureaucrats to work from home and buying carbon offsets.

The electric vehicle targets send a clear message to the province’s $16-billion auto sector. The 2025 goal would boost to about 86,000 the number of annual electric vehicle sales, more than 20 times the number of electric vehicles sold in the province so far this century.

“Many of the measures announced today by the Government of Ontario could easily be deployed at the national level” stated Sidney Ribaux, Executive Director of Équiterre. “Particularly, a national low carbon fuel standard is necessary to reduce the carbon intensity of fuels sold in all provinces. Similarly, a national zero-emission legislation would support the deployement of electric vehicules across Canada. Since Ontario is prepared to remove the HST on electric vehicules, why not remove the GST across Canada to encourage sales of zero-emisson vehicules?” further proposed Mr. Ribaux. “It is also up to the federal government to update the national building code to include the most innovative net-zero-emission building practices.”

Équiterre offers a word of caution in the management of these investments by the new Ontario Green Bank, based on Québec’s experience with Le Fonds Vert. “Transparency, accountability and evaluation criteria for the projects financed by the Ontario Green Bank are essential to ensure those projects result in GHG emission reduction” stated Steven Guilbeault of Équiterre.

For more information
Dale Robertson, 514-605-2000

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