Proposed Actions Fight Climate Change, Protect Environment Without a Carbon Tax
A News Release from Ontario’s Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks
Posted February 12th, 2019 on Niagara At Large
Ontario’s government for the people today announced the next stage in its commitment to protect the environment and fight climate change without imposing a carbon tax.
In particular, Ontario’s proposed regulatory approach combines emissions reductions standards while recognizing the unique circumstances of Ontario’s economy and its manufacturing sector. These made-in-Ontario emissions standards will consider factors such as trade exposure, competiveness and process emissions.
Similar to approved systems in Saskatchewan and Alberta, the proposed approach would set sector or facility-level greenhouse gas emissions performance standards that industrial facilities are required to meet and tie emissions to the level of output or production from these facilities, rather than an absolute cap on emissions for the province. Each industrial facility would be required to demonstrate compliance annually.
“Performance standards are a key part of the government’s Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan that puts Ontario on a path to achieve our 30% emissions reduction target, which is aligned with the federal government’s target,” said Rod Phillips, Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks.
“Our proposed approach to reduce emissions from industry would help us achieve our emissions reduction targets without imposing a carbon tax, which would kill jobs, negatively impact the province’s economy and make life more expensive for workers, seniors and families.”
In addition to the proposed standards for large emitters, Ontario recently released a proposal to increase the renewable content in gasoline to 15 per cent as early as 2025, encouraging the uptake of lower carbon fuels and helping to reduce emissions from the transportation sector.
“Our environment plan put forward responsible, tangible solutions that take into consideration the unique circumstances of our economy and the environment,” said Phillips. “We are already making progress with our emissions reduction proposals to fight climate change and will ensure Ontario continues to protect the environment.”
Consultation on the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan through the Environmental Registry closed on January 28. Over 1,400 comments and ideas were received and will be considered as the government completes consultations with stakeholders and works toward finalizing the environment plan in the coming weeks and months.
- The emissions performance standards proposal is on the Environmental Registry for a 45-day public comment period.
- As part of the consultation, the government intends to consider ways to recycle any funding that is collected to finance further greenhouse gas reductions.
- Ontario is considering including additional sectors in the program such as institutions, thermal energy supply and greenhouses starting with the 2020 emissions year.
- Like other provinces, the government plans to have the standards in place by summer 2019 and will work closely with the federal government to ensure Ontario industry is not double regulated.
- Ontario remains committed to meeting our share of Canada’s 2030 target. We have already made significant reductions: from 2005 to 2016, we reduced our emissions by about 22 per cent.
(A Footnote from Niagara At Large reporter and publisher Doug Draper – As a reporter who covered environmental issues in the Great Lakes region for many years, I learned through dramatic examples that you can have all of the emission guidelines or standards in the world but they are not worth the paper they are written on if you do not also have stiff penalties for non-compliance.
They are also not worth very much if you do not have enough resources for policing or for enforcing those standards.
I do not see any real evidence of that in the Ford government’s plan.
It is also important to note that while the Ford government brags about doing away with plans for a “carbon tax” as a way of putting money back in peoples’ pockets, the cost for industries of reducing their carbon emissions will ultimately be passed on to all of us – not just to those who would have been taxed for the carbon they emit to the atmosphere – through the price we pay for the items those industries produce.)
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