Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday May 18, 2016
Ontario government not denying report on sweeping climate change plan
Ontario’s Liberal government is not denying a published report that its long-awaited action plan on climate change aims to phase out the use of natural gas in both home heating and the electricity system.
Premier Kathleen Wynne and Environment Minister Glen Murray have been working for months on an action plan to reduce carbon emissions through a mix of incentives to choose green options and new regulations to shift people away from using fossil fuels.
At Queen’s Park, the opposition blasted the plans, saying they don’t make sense and will harm Ontario homeowners.
The Globe and Mail says it has obtained a confidential cabinet document that lays out the plan in detail. Among the key measures cited in the Globe report are:
- All new homes built after 2030 must be heated without using fossil fuels, such as natural gas.
- A target of 1.7 million electric or hybrid cars on the road by 2024
- Mandating a five per cent cut in carbon emissions from gasoline and diesel
The measures would be funded using the revenues from a looming cap and trade system for carbon emissions, which is expected to net the government some $1.9 billion annually Cabinet ministers refused to deny any specifics in the report.
“Over the next couple of weeks you’ll see the entire action plan,” Murray told reporters at the Legislature on Monday. “When that plan is out we’ll have lots of time to talk about it.”
“This government is committed to taking strong action when it comes to climate change,” said Deputy Premier Deb Matthews in question period, taking Wynne’s place during her trade mission to Israel. “We feel the responsibility to the planet, to our kids, to our grandkids.”
The report says the Liberals plan to spend $7 billion of cap and trade revenues from 2017 to 2021 to push the transition to a lower-carbon life. More than half of that money would go to grants and rebates for retrofitting buildings and to move them from natural-gas heating to such sources as geothermal and electric heat.(Source: CBC News)