30 Environmental Groups Urge Canada’s Federal Government To Turn Down Ontario’s Weak Plan To Price Industrial Emissions

‘Ontario’s industrial carbon pricing plan is weaker than the federal system, and was tabled after the deadline set by  Ottawa needs to stand firm and keep the existing federal system in place.’

“Ontario has been openly hostile to the environment and has taken this country backward in the fight against climate change,” – Keith Brooks, Programs Director at Environmental Defence Canada

An Urgent Call-Out from Environmental Defence Canada, Burlington Green, the David Suzuki Foundation and 27 other environmental organizations across Ontario and Canada

Posted February 10, 2020 on Niagara At Large

Toronto, Ontario – Over 30 Canadian environmental organizations sent a letter to 85 Ontario MPs calling on them to urge the federal government to keep Canada’s industrial carbon pricing policy in place in Ontario, and not approve the province’s weaker proposed system.

Ontario’s proposed system would give polluters a big break by putting a price on far fewer emissions than the current federal system. There is no justification for giving Ontario’s inferior proposal a pass, the groups said.

“Given that over 60 per cent of Ontarians recently voted for parties that support strong climate action, it’s outrageous that the federal government is even considering approving Ontario’s proposal that would give most industrial polluters a free pass.

A few months after Ontario’s independent environmental watchdog Dianne Saxe released a tough report, criticizing Premier Doug Ford and his Tory government for unveiling a plan that was “much too weak” for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. she was fired by the Ford government in March 2019 and Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Office where she and her staff worked was closed down.

“Ontario has been openly hostile to the environment and has taken this country backward in the fight against climate change,” said Keith Brooks, Programs Director at Environmental Defence. “The federal government needs to stand firm and say no.”

“More aggressive carbon pricing policies are needed to address our current climate emergency. The federal government must act in the best interest of Canadians and fulfill its election promise of stronger action on climate. The Ontario government’s proposal will not get us where we need to be to achieve the necessary carbon reductions. Time is running out, and we need stronger action from all levels of government,” said Marwa Selim, Operations Manager of Burlington Green.

“It’s bad enough that Ontario killed cap-and-trade, a program that generated almost $2 billion a year to fight the climate crisis. Now, the province wants to implement a weak carbon-pricing system for big polluters. Ottawa needs to maintain its stronger policy and tell Ontario that Canadians voted for effective climate laws to protect our children,” said Gideon Forman, Policy Analyst at the David Suzuki Foundation.

Key facts:

  • At a large gathering of mostly younger people in Toronto, participating in one of countless climate strikes held around the world in September of 2019

    * The Ontario Auditor General’s 2019 report showed that Ontario’s Environment Plan will not come close to reducing greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) as much  as the government had promised. It found that the proposed system to address emissions from industrial polluters in Ontario – the second largest source of emissions in this province – would only reduce GHGs by one megatonne (MT) by 2030. Ontario’s industrial emissions are close to 50 MT at present.
  • * Ontario had its own pricing system in place, but the government scrapped the previous cap-and-trade program and offered nothing as an alternative when provinces were asked to share their plans. Now, well after the deadline, they are asking for their industrial emissions pricing system to be approved.
  • * 85 Ontario MPs belong to a party that supports carbon pricing and is committed to strong climate action.

Read the full letter to 85 Ontario MPs here, by clicking on –[https://environmentaldefence.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/MP-Letter_-Stop-Premier-Ford-from-letting-big-polluters-off-the-hook.pdf] .

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