When asked recently what was the single most important and meaningful action governments could take to get more serious on climate, former US Vice President Gore responded: “Put a price on carbon in markets, and a price on denial in politics.”
(a) Is your party prepared to accept as a basis for action in Ontario that climate change is a clear and present danger so that government policy must be a key driver in structuring everything we do as a society, starting immediately post-election and continuing for several decades?
There is no question that climate change is an immediate concern. Failure to act will jeopardize our well-being and the future of the generations that follow us. That’s why the Ontario NDP has pushed the Liberal government to join Quebec in putting a price on carbon emissions via a cap-and-trade system. This would help Ontario reach its reduction target. Legislators have the power and responsibility to lead efforts to combat climate change.
A NDP government would legislate a cap-and-trade program for Ontario and immediately begin to work on a serious plan to combat climate change with policies and programs to achieve emission reductions in Ontario that surpass the Liberal target.
(b) Is your party prepared to “put a price on carbon” using “market mechanisms” to drive the changes we need in reducing GHG emissions? NDP Response
A NDP government would use a multi-pronged approach to reducing GHG emissions – meaning we would explore market and regulatory measures to surpass the emission reduction target. We are committed to implementing a cap-and-trade program for carbon – a market measure – that would create a market for carbon trading.
(c) Will your party rapidly complete and report on the consultation called for in the Ministry of the Environment’s Discussion Paper of January, 2013 entitled “Greenhouse Gas Emission Reductions in Ontario” and implement that report as soon as possible? NDP Response
The Ontario NDP understands the importance of reducing GHG emission. While the end of coal generation is an important step, the Liberals have not taken enough action to address GHG emission and as a result Ontario will miss its 2020 reduction target by a wide margin. In the words of the Environmental Commissioner, “there has been a lack of bold leadership on climate change mitigation policy in Ontario.” His 2013 report also concluded that “there has been limited provincial action on the climate change policy file and, accordingly, little progress upon which to report.” That’s just not right. Building off the Ministry’s consultations, a NDP government will move forward with targeted action to reduce GHG emission. It’s time for a government that delivers results on GHG reduction.
There are two principal policy approaches by which a price on carbon can be administered: a system of cap-and-trade (the policy currently preferred in an Ontario Government study) or a carbon tax.
Question: Does your party prefer either of these approaches, and, if so, which one? What would be the features of your preferred program?
To help Ontario transition away from fossil fuels towards renewable technologies, the NDP prefers a cap-and-trade system. We have clearly stated our opposition to a carbon tax and are committed to working towards the Western Climate Initiative whereby different jurisdictions participate in a cap-and-trade program.Revenues generated by cap-and-trade will be re-invested in reducing carbon emissions.
__________________________________________________ Our Commentary
Clearly the NDP recognizes that climate change ought to be an issue in this election. The NDP deserves the support of Ontario voters concerned about climate change.
We have not reproduced the answers by the Green Party, but – no surprise – this party’s platform was equally emphatic that Ontario had to adopt programs that would control climate change.
The most significant difference between these parties is that the Green Party believes that both a cap-and-trade system and a carbon tax is necessary.
In this party’s view, a carbon tax is a disincentive to carbon production, and generates revenue that can be used to mitigate and adapt to the effects of carbon emissions.
To find out more about the Green Party Platform follow this link.
Green Party candidates also deserve consideration by Ontario voters. There are several candidates that we recommend, particularly Mike Schreiner, the Green Party Leader, who is contesting the Guelph riding.