Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday December 5, 2019
Ford government’s climate change plan is not based on ‘sound evidence,’ auditor general says
Premier Doug Ford’s plan to fight climate change is not based on “sound evidence” and will fall well short of Ontario’s 2030 greenhouse gas reduction targets, auditor general Bonnie Lysyk warns in a damning new annual report.
Despite repeated assurances from Ford as recently as Tuesday that the plan is on track, an internal analysis by the environment ministry acknowledges that proposed measures won’t do the job, the auditor revealed in her massive report released Wednesday.
“Ontario is warming faster than the global average,” Lysyk said in her three-volume, 1,176-page report, noting the Paris Agreement target is to reduce emissions 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.
But the Progressive Conservative government’s calculations have been flawed on many levels, she said, such as the inclusion of impacts from renewable energy projects and the previous Liberal administration’s cap-and-trade program that were scrapped in the summer of 2018.
The environment ministry also projects sales of electric vehicles will rise to 1.3 million in 2030 from 41,000 this year but has “no policy mechanisms” to drive an increase after cancelling cash incentives for buyers and the installation of more charging stations more than a year ago, Lysyk found.
An end to cash incentives, which were bankrolled by the Liberal cap-and-trade program that generated $1.9 billion annually, has resulted in a drop of 53 per cent in the number of electric vehicles purchased or leased.
As well, “some emissions reductions were double counted and overstated” because they are targeted in more than one program, said the report.
The auditor general also found troubles in the health care system, court backlogs caused by a lack of modernization, higher rates of fatalities and injuries in commercial vehicle crashes and use food that is past its best-before date in nursing homes. (Hamilton Spectator)