Pembina Institute Attacks Ontario Climate Plan As Step Backward

With the Government of Ontario warming faster than the global average, the Pembina Institute challenged the Government of Ontario's just released climate plan as grossly inadequate.

Robin Edger, Ontario director at the Pembina Institute, made the following statement in response to the release of the Government of Ontario’s climate plan:

“Today, the Ontario government released a climate plan that lacks a clear path to reduce our carbon pollution and ensure a clean, healthy, and safe environment. The plan weakens Ontario’s carbon pollution reduction targets by 27 per cent.

“Ontarians know we have a responsibility to each other and our children to ensure clean air and a healthy environment. The government’s climate plan does not meet this responsibility.

“This plan reverses years of progress and erases popular programs that led to economic growth and cleaner air for Ontarians. This reversal in direction is costing Ontarians job growth in clean, innovative industries and putting the environment at risk.

“A credible climate plan would, at minimum, present effective solutions to reduce carbon pollution from transportation, industry, and homes and buildings. A credible plan would include solutions to help make it more affordable for people to retrofit their homes to be more energy efficient, and make the transition to electric vehicles more affordable. The plan released today contains mainly aspirational statements and plans to make plans, without seriously demonstrating how the government will lead Ontario to a low-carbon economy.

“However, we are encouraged to see the government’s intention to parallel federal changes to the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance, which will make technology investments in clean energy generation and energy conservation equipment more attractive.

“We will be assessing the government’s announced plan to regulate industrial carbon pollution and their proposed flexibility mechanisms such as compliance payments. We are pleased to see the government acknowledge that pollution pricing is an effective tool for reducing carbon pollution. However, we are concerned the province is creating investment uncertainty through this separate standard meant to replace the federal government’s standard.

“As the recent United Nations IPCC report made clear, we need urgent action to limit climate change and head off its more extreme impacts. Ontario is already experiencing extreme climate events, from the polar vortex the last few winters, to the record-setting wildfires of this past summer, to the flooding in Toronto, Ottawa, and Windsor. We do not have the luxury of stalling on climate action for the next four years.”

Quick facts

  • In 2016, Ontario’s carbon pollution was 23 per cent below its historic peak in 2000, on track with emissions reduction targets.
  • Ontario is warming faster than the global average; the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998.
  • In 2017, the clean tech sector in Ontario included 5,000 companies with 130,000 employees and $19.8 billion in annual revenue.