Question: Ontario’s Emission Targets

Ontario has a provincial Greenhouse Gas (GHG) reduction target that reflects scientific opinion as to what is needed to reduce emissions and avoid run-away climate change.  These targets are: 6% below 1990 levels by 2014 (which Ontario will meet), 15% below 1990 levels by 2020, and 80% below 1990 levels by 2050.

Question: Would your party, if elected, move a Legislative Resolution by which the Provincial Legislature re-affirms Ontario’s commitment to those targets?

Background

Meeting GHG reduction targets is a challenge, and governments are tempted to take the easy way out.  The previous Federal Government (Liberal) took no realistic steps to meet Canada’s target established by the Kyoto Convention. The current Federal Government (Conservative) claimed that the Liberal’s delay had created a situation where reaching the target would harm Canada’s economy. For that and other reasons the Federal Government had Canada withdraw from Kyoto, the only country in the world to do so.

The Conservative government accepted new targets set by the Copenhagen Accord, targets that were re-affirmed at Cancun.  Yet it made the development of the tar sands (the largest single source of GHG emissions in the world) a priority.  As a result, the latest projections are that Canada will fall far short of these targets.

Ontario is a Province that has made progress towards meeting its targets.  Still we are concerned that future Ontario Governments would regard reduction targets as a “best efforts “undertaking, and not a binding obligation.  So we asked: If your party is the new Ontario Government for the critical years 2014-18, will you confirm these targets?

Responses from the NDP and Green Party

NDP

The Ontario NDP knows that serious action is needed to tackle climate change. An NDP government would exceed Ontario’s greenhouse gas emission target by five per cent, reducing emissions to 20 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. We would re-affirm Ontario’s commitment to bringing emissions to 80 per cent below 1990 levels by 2050. 

Unfortunately for Ontarians, the Liberals’ are not taking climate change seriously. Their current plan will only take Ontario about half way to meeting the 2020 targets that the Liberals themselves set. 

In his recent report the Environmental Commissioner recently concluded that “in the absence of a renewed effort, the [Liberal] government is failing our future.” This province needs decisive action not more broken promises from the Liberals.

Green Party

 The Green Party will meet the 2020 reduction targets.  The programs to achieve this goal are described in the answers given to later questions. 

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